Devyani Khobragade`s arrest: Salman Khurshid refuses to comment on Preet Bharara

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday refused to comment on US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2013, 19:31 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday refused to comment on US Attorney Preet Bharara, who had justified Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade`s arrest by the authorities on charges of visa fraud.

As per a news agency, the Union Minister said, "Won`t say anything about him. It is not under my jurisdiction. I will only respond to things USA tells me officially."

Khurshid also said, "He is a lawyer, he does his work, I will do mine. I only respond to the Foreign Minister not him."

Earlier, India hit back at Preet Bharara, accusing him of interfering with the Indian legal system. It also asserted that the arrest of the diplomat was not in keeping with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity.

Criticising the US Prosecutor for making statement for "post facto rationalization" for an action that should never have taken place in the first instance, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said there were no courtesies extended to Khobragade, who is the only "victim" in this case.

He said despite acknowledging that legal process were in place in India, the statement talks why it was necessary to evacuate the family of absconding maid Sangeeta Richard, thereby, making "implicit comment" about the Indian legal system, its enforcement authorities, and the responsibility that legal officials of a foreign government seem to "arrogate upon" themselves with regard to nationals of another country.

In a statement in the US, the India-born Bharara not only defended the action against Khobragade but also said that maid Sangeeta Richard`s family has been brought to the US. He said a legal process was started in India to "silence her and attempts were made to compel her to return to India".

IFS officer Khobragade was arrested on December 12 even as she was dropping her daughter to school. Later she was released on a USD 250,000 bond only after pleading not guilty in court.

The diplomat`s arrest has created a major row between India the US. India has reacted sharply to the treatment meted out to Devyani and has taken a host of measures to downgrade the privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats and their families including withdrawing airport passes and stopping import clearances.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, John Kerry Kerry, last night called National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and expressed regret over the arrest and strip search of Devyani in New York City. He had also hoped that the incident would not damage Indo-US relationship.