13 March 2014

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Visa Fraud Case Devyani Khobragade US Judge Dismisses Indictment against Khobragade

Visa Fraud Case Devyani Khobragade US Judge Dismisses Indictment against Khobragade

Devyani Khobragade is married to a U.S. citizen, Aakash Singh Rathore  is a Visiting Scholar in the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania; they have two children.

A US judge has dismissed charges against Devyani Khobragade an Indian diplomat who was arrested in New York for not paying minimum wages to her maid

Khobragade was arrested in December, with prosecutors saying she claimed she paid her Indian maid $4,500 per month to get the woman a visa but actually paid her less than the U.S. minimum wage. Prosecutors said the maid received less than $3 per hour for her work.

A ruling filed on Wednesday says Devyani Khobragade had diplomatic immunity when she was indicted on charges of fraudulently obtaining a work visa for her housekeeper and lying about the maid's pay.

In November 2012, Khobragade employed Richard, as a nanny and domestic servant for residence in New York.
Richard entered the U.S. under an A-3 visa, which is a non-immigrant visa and permits the holder to work anywhere in the US for a specified employer.

June 23, 2013, Khobragade found Richard missing from her home.
On June 24, 2013, Khobragade informed the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) and requested help in tracing Richard.

June 25, 2013, the NYPD filed a missing person report
The NYPD then closed the case and it determined that Richard had simply left.

Richard contacted Safe Horizon, a nonprofit that has an anti-trafficking program, which took Richard to the State Departments with the allegations.

On July 1, 2013, Khobragade receives phone call from person claiming to be Richard's lawyer and requesting her to process change in visa status of Richard and provide compensation based on 19 hours of work per day

On July 5, 2013, Khobragade files complaint of "aggravated harassment" with NYPD alleging extortion and blackmail by the caller.

On July 8, 2013, 'Access Immigration' a law office representing Richard calls for a meeting with Khobragade.

On July 19, 2013, Philip Richard, husband of Richard files a petition in the Indian court alleging that Khobragade and Indian government held his wife in police custody in New York and had kept in "slavery-like conditions or keeping a person in bondage".
The petition also state that Uttam Khobragade had called Richard's family in India and threatened them with dire consequences if Richard complains.
The petition was withdrawn after four days

The Indian government revoked Richard's Indian diplomatic passport with effect from June 22, 2013 and inform OFM about the termination of the passport
On September 4, 2013, the US State Department issues letter to Indian Ambassador to probe the allegation of Richard and for proof of minimum wages paid.
Following this, on September 10, 2013, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs lodges strong protest with the US officials

On November 19, 2013, based on a complaint lodged by Khobragade, a Delhi Court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Richard, which was forwarded to US State Department and US embassy for her immediate arrest

On December 10, 2013, Philip Richard, along with two children, went to the U.S, two days before Khobragade's arrest, on a T visa; this visa permits victims of human trafficking and their close relatives to stay in the U.S. to testify against those accused of human trafficking crimes

On December 18, 2013, Khobragade was transferred by the government of India to the UN mission in New York, subject to clearance from the United States Department of State, which would entitle her to full diplomatic immunity
Her former post only entitled her to consular immunity.

On January 9, 2014, Khobragade left the United States by plane to India
That same day she was indicted by a federal grand jury with visa fraud and making false statements

On 10 January the Indian government ordered the expulsion of US diplomat Wayne May because he had assisted Richard's family in securing T-visas and traveling to the United States

Later government of India made it a big issue and pressured US government to do everything

Now Sangeeta Richard the maid of Devyani Khobragade and her husband Philip Richard has filed for divorce

After lot of protest now case is closed but US can again file the indictment

This case  led to a major diplomatic standoff between India and the United States.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

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