"She is innocent...It is not the illegality that she (Khobragade) is accused of, but the illegality she refused to oblige," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Parliament about Khobragade who has suffered ill-treatment for allegedly paying her maid servant a salary less than minimum wages under the US laws.
Narrating the sequence of events that began in June-July this year, he said the maid servant disappeared and a case was lodged with New York Police Department but no action was taken.
"The Deputy Consul General (later) received a phone call from a lawyer who refused to identify himself and offered to settle the matter that would result in grant of permanent citizenship to her and a huge compensation. It became clear that this was a conspiracy and some people trapped her," he said.
Making suo motu statements in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, he strongly condemned the treatment meted out to Khobragade who was arrested, handcuffed, strip-searched and put in jail with common criminals. Khurshid said the treatment meted out to Khobragade had "not happened out of blue" and there is a "history" behind it.
Terming the action by the US government as unwarranted, he asserted that India will intervene "effectively and specifically" to ensure the return and restoration of dignity of its Deputy Consul General as it a matter of the country's prestige and honour.
His statement came in the wake of outrage expressed by members cutting across party lines who demanded strong retaliatory steps by the Indian government.
Vowing strong action, Khurshid said, "It is my responsibility. We will bring back the diplomat and restore her dignity. If I fail to do it, I will not return to this House."
Maintaining that the government was not over-reacting by taking a slew of measures against the US diplomats in India, he said,
"First and foremost, our effort is to bring her out of this situation and then we will talk to the US government."