Indian Diplomat Indicted for Visa Fraud Amidst Confusion Over Her Whereabouts

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 9 2014 6:16 PM

Indian Diplomat Indicted for Visa Fraud Amidst Confusion Over Her Whereabouts

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Protestors in front of the US consulate in Hyderabad on December 19, 2013, following the arrest of New York-based Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

Photo by STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, was indicted on charges of visa fraud and making false statements on Thursday. Khobragade’s accused of falsifying documents for her nanny to get a work permit to accompany to her post in the US. In the immediate aftermath of the indictment, there were conflicting reports about the 39-year-old diplomat's whereabouts. The Associated Press reports, despite reports that she had left the US, Khobragade’s lawyer said she remained at her New York City apartment. Shortly after the lawyer’s statement, according to the AP, “a spokesman for federal prosecutors said the State Department had told prosecutors that it had asked her to leave the country Thursday afternoon.” The request for her to leave the US was "part of an apparent arrangement to ease a diplomatic crisis between the two countries," according to Reuters.

Confusion over Khobragade’s whereabouts delayed the filing of charges on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The charges against Khobragade stem from her tenure serving as India’s deputy consul general in New York when she reported that she was paying her maid $4,500 per month, but actually was paying her well below minimum wage. The diplomat’s arrest sparked an outcry in India and has strained relations between the two countries with India enacting a series of diplomatic reprisals over the last several weeks.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.