An Indian diplomat who was at the center of a diplomatic spat between India and the United States has been re-indicted on visa fraud charges. A previous indictment was lifted for reasons of diplomatic immunity.
A United States grand jury has re-indicted Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on charges of visa fraud and underpaying a housekeeper, just two days after a judge dismissed the previous indictment on similar charges.
Khobragade, a former Indian deputy consul general in New York, has been accused of obtaining a work visa for her housekeeper by fraud and of lying to the US government about the woman's pay.
Her arrest and strip-search by US authorities in New York last December provoked an international stir, and much outrage in India. The ensuing diplomatic rift ended only when the US granted her diplomatic immunity and then asked her to leave the country in January.
District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled on Wednesday that Khobragade had diplomatic immunity when she sought to dismiss the indictment on January 9, and could thus not be prosecuted. However, the ruling did not bar prosecutors from returning a new indictment based on the same charges, as has now happened.
Khobragade is currently residing in India, and it is not clear if or when she might appear in court in New York again. Her lawyer has said she is immune from the prosecution.
tj/ph (AP, Reuters)