Khobragade charges dismissed; court disses Bharara

Well, now you know whom to go to when you have the New York prosecutor on your tail  – Daniel Arshack, Devyani Khobragade’s lawyer, who won a dismissal of the charges against his client being pursued by the New York attorney, Preet Bharara, who, until now, has had a perfect score as a prosecutor:

CNN reports:

“New York (CNN) — The Indian diplomat whose arrest sparked a testy exchange between the United States and India won a dismissal of a federal indictment Monday, according to court documents.

Devyani Khobragade was arrested and strip searched by federal agents in New York City in December after federal authorities accused Khobragade of lying on a visa application about how much she paid her housekeeper. She was indicted on January 9 by a federal grand jury on one count of visa fraud and one count of making false statements.

Khobragade then filed a motion to dismiss the charges, claiming she was “cloaked in diplomatic immunity at the time of her arrest,” according to the motion.

The court agreed, stating that Khobragade was “appointed a Counselor to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, a position that cloaked her with full diplomatic immunity,” according to court documents. She was appointed to that position on January 8, a day before she was indicted.

“Even if Khobragade had no immunity at the time of her arrest and has none now, her acquisition of immunity during the pendency of proceedings mandates dismissal,” U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote.

“The government may not proceed on an indictment obtained when Khobragade was immune from the jurisdiction of the court,” Scheindlin continued.

Khobragade’s attorney, Daniel Arshack, said in a statement that Khobragade is pleased that “the rule of law has prevailed.”

One thought on “Khobragade charges dismissed; court disses Bharara

  1. Once the US Govt’s formal recognition of Devyani’s diplomatic immunity came in (Jan 8, 2014), I cannot understand why the Court and the prosecution had allowed the indictment to occur in the first place.
    Surely, a squandering of resources – and perhaps also motivated on the part of the prosecution by a desire to “hit back” at India which had dared to withdraw non-reciprocal concessions earlier extended to American officials in India.
    Interestingly, even now the court seems to be silent on the earlier (temporary immunity) which Devyani had on account of her accreditation as an adviser with the Indian contingent at the UN connected with the UN session September onwards. That can, however, be explained,because if this aspect were taken into account, the arrest itself would be shown as having been contrary to law and could make the persons responsible liable for legal action.
    Anil Nauriya
    Advocate, Supreme Court of India
    New Delhi

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