Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Father of Devyani Khobragade said on Wednesday that though he was satisfied with the steps taken by the Indian government, the pressure on the US should be kept up till the charges against her daughter were dropped.
As per a news agency, Uttam Khobragade said, "I am satisfied with the steps government has taken but these aren`t sufficient. They should not stop until the charges are dropped."
He added, "It is an attack on the sovereignty of the nation. Devyani has been made a scapegoat, she must be returned with due honour."
Devyani, who was the Deputy Consul General in New York, was arrested last week on visa fraud charges and then released on a USD 250,000 bond only after pleading not guilty in court. She was held when she was dropping her daughter to school. She has been now transferred as India`s Mission to UN, giving her fuller diplomatic immunity.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Parliament today that the diplomat was innocent. A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade was put through both strip and cavity searches, procedures normally used for criminals, evoking a sharp reaction from India which initiated a slew of steps to downgrade the privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats and their families including withdrawing airport passes and stopping import clearances.
Narrating the sequence of events that began in June-July this year, Khurshid said the maid servant disappeared and a case was lodged with New York Police Department but no action was taken.
"The Deputy Consul General (later) received a phone call from a lawyer who refused to identify himself and offered to settle the matter that would result in grant of permanent citizenship to her and a huge compensation. It became clear that this was a conspiracy and some people trapped her," he said.
Significantly, the family of the maid, Sangeeta Richards, was granted visa by the US embassy despite India being in touch with Americans since her disappearance and cancellation of her official passport in June. The family - Sangeeta`s husband Philip and two children- left for New York on December 10, just two days before Khobragade was arrested.
Given the "odd" timing of the departure of the family of the maid and arrest of Indian diplomat, there is a feeling that there were three rings of "charade" as Americans facilitated a visa fraud even after being told by India that there was a risk of illegal immigration by Sangeeta and her family.
With PTI inputs