Diplomat strip search, arrest: Lawyer says investigator goofed reading forms, leading to charges

Published: December 24, 2013
STRIP SEARCH

This Dec. 8, 2013 photo shows Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general, during the India Studies Stony Brook University fund raiser event at Long Island, New York. AP Photo/Mohammed Jaffer

LARRY NEUMEISTER
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — A lawyer for an Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip search in New York City drew angry responses from officials in India accused U.S. authorities Tuesday of bungling the investigation.

Attorney Daniel Arshack said the agent who drew up charges against his client made a key error in reading a form submitted on behalf of a domestic worker for Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York. She was arrested two weeks ago and charged with submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her New York City housekeeper.

Arshack said in an email that the error was in “erroneously and disastrously” mistaking Khobragade’s listed base salary of $4,500 per month for what she intended to pay her housekeeper.

The lawyer said Khobragade’s salary needed to be listed on the form so that U.S. embassy officials in India would know that Khobragade had sufficient income to be able to pay her housekeeper $1,560 per month, or $9.75 per hour for a 40-hour workweek. In court documents, authorities claim she paid her housekeeper about $3.31 per hour.

In an interview, Arshack said it became apparent as he and others closely reviewed the forms Khobragade was required to submit to arrange for the hiring of her housekeeper that the information she had submitted had been misunderstood.

“It’s incredibly unsexy kind of information, but it does go right to the heart of what this is about,” he said.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Arshack’s claims.

Arshack has represented Khobragade since she was arrested Dec. 13, charged with lying on a visa form about how much she paid her housekeeper.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed regret over the case while Indian officials have said they are outraged, particularly at a strip-search of Khobragade that they say was degrading and unnecessary, though U.S. authorities have called it standard procedure.

Khobragade has said she has full diplomatic immunity, though U.S. officials have said her immunity is limited to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.

She has been transferred to India’s United Nations mission, an assignment that has been processed by the Indian government and the United Nations but awaits U.S. State Department approval. She would have broader immunity in that position.

In an unusual statement last week, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara responded to what he described as misinformation and factual inaccuracy in the case by saying Khobragade was accused of creating false documents and lying to the U.S. government about what she was doing, including hiring a housekeeper who was working far more than the 40 hours per week she was contracted to work.

He also questioned why there was “precious little outrage” about the treatment of the Indian housekeeper and her husband while there was so much about the alleged treatment of Khobragade.

He said his office’s sole motivation was to uphold the law, protect victims and hold lawbreakers accountable, “no matter what their societal status and no matter how powerful, rich or connected they are.”

15:28ET 24-12-13

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

Violent Vancouver muggings

Violent street mugging in Burnaby brings light sentences to two of the perpetrators

A third suspect who has never been arrested held knife to victim’s throat KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A man convicted in a violent street mugging…
Continue Reading »

security-CBSA-Transit Police-death

Migrant group asks Transit Police not to share info with CBSA

THE CANADIAN PRESS A B.C. group is calling on Transit police to stop sharing all information about migrants with the Canada Border Services Agency. Transit…
Continue Reading »

TK

IHIT takes case after body found in SUV in Surrey City Centre area

VANCOUVER DESI The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is at the scene where a deceased male was discovered in Surrey’s City Centre area Friday morning….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Canadian universities attracting kids, especially girls, to sciences

@ By Liam Casey THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Groups of students huddle around desks at a university campus as the instructor gives out a…
Continue Reading »

Canadian universities attracting kids, especially girls, to sciences

@ By Liam Casey THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Groups of students huddle around desks at a university campus as the instructor gives out a…
Continue Reading »

Health Canada warns about bedbug control products after 2 Alberta children die

By John Cotter THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — The federal government is warning Canadians of what it calls the “extreme danger” of using unregistered products…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Hands Against Racism

Hands Against Racism: Send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

triplets

U.S. mom with 2 kids celebrates one-month birthdays of rare identical triplet boys (with photos)

COREY WILLIAMS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – A suburban Detroit couple who have two older children are adjusting to life after becoming…
Continue Reading »

File photo: An Indian Muslim bride, her hands decorated with henna, attends a mass wedding organized by a social service organization in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Groom dumped by bride-to-be for a wedding guest accuses her of drugging him before ceremony

VANCOUVER DESI A 25-year-old Indian groom who was dumped by his bride-to-be for a wedding guest after he suffered an alleged seizure has accused his…
Continue Reading »

bikram

Vancouver woman sues hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury for sexual assault

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Vancouver woman is claiming the leader of one of B.C.’s largest yoga chains repeatedly sexually assaulted and coerced her over…
Continue Reading »

murder plot-Pakistan-love triangle

U.S. man convicted of setting up fatal shooting of Pakistani wife while walking with young son

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A man was convicted Thursday of setting up the fatal shooting of his Pakistan-born wife while the couple was…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Katrina Kaif -bikini blouse

Gallery: Bollywood babes pair hot bikini blouses with sarees

VANCOUVER DESI When it comes to sinful fashion mingled with grace, elegance and beauty, no one can beat Bollywood actresses and their style sense. Check…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood film review

Dum Laga Ke Haisha: So real and heart-warming, it smells like life

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”; Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pedneker; Written and Directed by Sharat Katariya; Rating: ****(4 stars) It’s very…
Continue Reading »

Katti Batti

Bollywood actors Kangana Ranaut and Imran Khan are having fun on the sets of Katti Batti

IANS Mumbai – Actor Imran Khan is having a “positive experience” filming “Katti Batti”, thanks to his “wonderful co-star” Kangana Ranaut and “great director” Nikhil…
Continue Reading »