Arrest warrant issued against Khobragade in US visa fraud case

Devyani Khobragade
New York, Mar 15: An arrest warrant has been issued against Devyani Khobragade as US prosecutors today re-indicted her on visa fraud charges and accused the Indian diplomat of "illegally" underpaying and "exploiting" her domestic maid.

In a letter to United States District Judge William Pauley, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara informed that Khobragade is "believed" to be in India and the court will be alerted if and when she is arrested.

"An arrest warrant was also issued today. The Government will alert the Court immediately upon the defendant's arrest so that an appearance before Your Honor may be scheduled. At present, the defendant is believed to be in India," Bharara said in the letter.

He said the indictment alleges that Khobragade made false statements to US authorities "to facilitate her exploitative employment of a household employee who was grossly underpaid and overworked." Bharara said Khobragade is unavailable because her "whereabouts are known but (her) presence for trial cannot be obtained by due diligence or (she) resists appearing at or being returned for trial."

The new charges, which came a day after a US court dismissed an earlier indictment, accused her of visa fraud and making false statements about the visa application of her maid Sangeeta Richard. The 21-page indictment, filed by the office of India-born Bharara, states that the diplomat "knowingly made" multiple false representations and presented false information to US authorities in order to obtain a visa for a personal domestic worker. 


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