New Delhi, Dec 20: Taking administrative steps against Devyani Khobragade, who had hit the headlines last year after she was arrested in the US in a visa fraud case, the Ministry of External Affairs stripped the diplomat of her duties as Director in the Development Partnership Division of the MEA. The MEA has now placed her under a 'compulsory wait'.
The ministry has reportedly stripped her for giving an interview, without prior permission from the MEA, during which she talked about the incident and said "things have not moved much since then." [Who is Devyani Khobragade?]
Meanwhile, the MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin has reportedly said that the action taken against Khobragade is related to an ongoing inquiry against her in a vigilance case.
'Compulsory wait' means that the diplomat has no job, although she retains her post.
Khobragade, a Director-level officer in the MEA headquarters here after her return in January said in the interview, "Things haven't moved as such, but I am hopeful that specially this government will take it up positively because this is not just my matter, it's about having a special judicial process against a diplomat."
When asked about her conduct in going to the media, the MEA Spokesperson had then said the views expressed by Khobragade were her own.
On whether she had sought permission for the interview and if the MEA had given the permission, he said, "No on both accounts."
Sources said she could get a "rap on the knuckles" even as the ministry was examining other aspects of her case in the US. Khobragade, former Deputy Consul General of India in New York, was arrested in the US on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid and released on a $250,000 bond.
The issue had escalated into a full-blown diplomatic spat between the US and India, which retaliated by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps.
(With inputs from agencies)