A federal grand jury in Manhattan indicted an Indian diplomat on Thursday who had been arrested in New York in December on charges of visa fraud and making false statements.
Indian deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade, 39, was arrested in December for making false statements in support of a visa application for an Indian national whom she had brought to New York as part of her household staff, and for paying the staff member less than minimum wage.
The Federal District Court issued an indictment on the same charges for which she was arrested. The indictment also revealed accusations that Khobragade and others tried to "silence and intimidate the victim and her family and lie to Indian authorities and courts." Her attorney, Daniel N. Arshack called the charges "false and baseless." After the indictment was announced, Arshack confirmed that his client was still in New York.
Tensions sparked between India and the U.S. when Khobragade alleged mistreatment during her arrest, an accusation denied by the State Department, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office.
In retribution, Indian officials snubbed a U.S. congressional delegation and ordered the removal of barricades that protect the American embassy in New Delhi in December, and in January directed the U.S. Embassy to cease "commercial activities" at its American club.
The State Department said it will respond to any concerns it has with India's actions "privately."
[New York Times] [UPI]