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Diplomat arrest row: As it happened

The US today sought to calm the escalating diplomatic stand-off with India over the arrest of Devyani Khobragade for alleged visa fraud, saying "this isolated episode is not indicative of close and mutually respectful ties we share".

Zee Media Bureau/Kamna Arora & Deepak Nagpal

11:20 pm: Devyani not subjected to cavity search - US Marshals

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was not subject to cavity search, as being alleged, the US Marshals Services claimed today.

"In reference to your question about the cavity search, the answer is no," Nikki Credic-Barrett, spokesperson of the US Marshals Service, said in response to a question on the allegations by the family of the senior Indian diplomat that she was subject to cavity search. - PTI

10:30 pm: US seeks to calm stand-off

The US today sought to calm the escalating diplomatic stand-off with India over the arrest of Devyani Khobragade for alleged visa fraud, saying "this isolated episode is not indicative of close and mutually respectful ties we share".

"I want to say that the United States and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship, and this isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties that we share," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters here.

"We understand that this is a sensitive issue for many in India, and we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all standard procedures were followed and that every opportunity for courtesy was extended," he said in response to a question.

Carney said US President Barack Obama has been briefed on the issue.

9:30 pm: `Positive signals from US`

Sources have said that India has received positive signals from the US side on resolving the row over Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade`s arrest and subsequent mistreatment.

9:15 pm: US snubs its own attorney, Preet Bharara

US Under Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Windy Sherman today called Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to follow up on Secretary of State John Kerry`s telephonic talk with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

The two discussed specific steps to resolve the situation arising out of the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the US.

During the 20-25 minute long call, Sherman also distanced the State Department from the statement issued by US Attorney Preet Bharara on the Devyani Khobragade case.

8:40 pm: SP offers Devyani ticket for LS polls

Uttar Pradesh`s Minister for Urban Development and Minorities Welfare Mohammad Azam Khan today offered Devyani Khobragade to contest in next year`s Lok Sabha polls from Rampur on Samajwadi Party`s ticket.

8:05 pm: PM upset, directs full resolution of issue

Upset over the treatment meted out to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in New York, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to ensure "full resolution" of the issue.

Singh had yesterday termed as "deplorable" the treatment that the 39-year-old diplomat had been subjected to.

8:00 pm: Special treatment for US diplomats at airports withdrawan

US diplomats and their families in India will not be able to avail special treatment at airports from tonight when the deadline expires for surrendering their special passes, as part of government`s retaliatory action against the treatment meted out to diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York.

The government had asked the US Consular diplomats and their families to surrender airports passes by tonight.

6:45 pm: Khurshid says won`t comment on Preet Bharara

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said he would not say anything about US attorney Preet Bharara.

"It`s not under my jurisdiction. I will only respond to things USA tells me officially," the minister added.

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

6:30 pm: Devyani was handcuffed, put in locked cell: Lawyer

Devyani Khobragade’s lawyer today reiterated that the Indian diplomat was handcuffed, strip-searched and put in a locked cell following her arrest. His remarks came after US attorney Preet Bharara said courtesies were extended to the Indian diplomat.

"Hope that we won`t have to address actual charges in court, we hope that from a diplomatic level this case will be resolved," the lawyer reportedly said.

"Her status has changed from working at the consulate to UN permanent mission," he added.

6:20 pm: Sharad Yadav endorses govt`s steps

JD-U leader Sharad Yadav has said that the Indian government was doing its best to get justice for Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

"The Indian government is doing its work on this and so is Parliament," said Yadav.

6:00 pm: Students court arrest outside US consulate in Kolkata

Scores of students of organisations of the Left parties and the Congress courted arrest today while protesting in front of the US consulate in Kolkata against the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York.

5:35 pm: Devyani fell victim to planned conspiracy – Father

Uttam Khobragade today alleged a conspiracy behind the arrest of his diplomat daughter Devyani in New York and said all charges against her were fabricated as he dubbed US Attorney Preet Bharara`s remarks after the incident as a "blatant" attack on the Indian judiciary.

"Please take cognisance of Bharara`s utterance, that the Indian legal process is meant to `silence` the maid," Khobragade, a former IAS officer, told reporters. "It is a blatant attack on the judiciary of India. Is it the Prime Minister or is it Preet Bharara who rules India?" he asked.

5:20 pm: No courtesies in treatment meted out to Devyani – MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, today said that there was only one victim in the diplomat case and that was Devyani Khobragade - a serving Indian diplomat on mission in the United States.

In a strongly-worded statement, the MEA said there were "no courtesies" in the treatment that was meted out to the diplomat, under the normal definition of that word in the English language.

The ministry further said in response to US Attorney Preet Bharara, "It needs to be asked what right a foreign government has to `evacuate` Indian citizens from India while cases are pending against them in Indian legal system."

"The statement (of Preet Bharara) underlines the compulsion that is felt by
the Manhattan US Attorney`s office "to make sure that victims, witnesses and their families are safe and secure while cases are pending."

"This statement is one more attempt at a post facto rationalisation for an action that should never have taken place in the first instance."

5:00 pm: Such things should not happen – CJI

Reacting on the Devyani Khobragade case, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam today said such things should not happen to high-level officials.

It was upto the government to decide on what steps should be taken to handle the issue, "but as an individual, it should not happen to our high officials," he told reporters.

4:40 pm: `No hurry to restore US diplomats` privileges`

India today said it will not take a call immediately on restoring the special privileges of US diplomats that were taken away as a retaliatory measure after the handcuffing and strip-search of an Indian diplomat in New York.

"Such decisions are not taken in a hurry. We will study the matter and then take a call," the minister said.

3:55 pm: BJP demands US apology

The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded US apology for the treatment meted out to Devyani.

Addressing a press conference, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asked how would the US behave if its diplomat was treated this way?

3:45 pm: Protests in Kolkata

Student organisations protest outside US consulate in Kolkata against treatment meted out to Devyani.

2:14 pm: Govt must take strong steps, says Deve Gowda

Janata Dal(S) leader HD Deve Gowda has demanded that the government of India must take strong steps. He, however, described the case as a sad strain on diplomatic relationship.

1:49 pm: Won`t tolerate injustice, says Raj Babbar

Congress spokesman Raj Babbar said India`s message to the US is clear that we won`t tolerate injustice meted out to our citizens.

1:28 pm: Case against Devyani should be withdrawn, says Khurshid

Maintaining a tough stand, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the case against Devyani should not be pursued and be withdrawn. Commenting on India-US ties, Khurshid noted that the relationship between the countries "has a lot of investment". It is "not an irreversible matter and we have to deal with it sensibly," added Khurshid. He has sought details of what has happened in the case of Khobragade in the US.

Khurshid added that he had received a call from US Secretary of State John Kerry last night but he was not available at that time.

Also Read: India demands case against Devyani Khobragade in US be withdrawn

1:18 pm: India wants good ties with US, says Tharoor

Commenting on Devyani`s issue, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said though India wants good relations with the US since it is an important country, yet it won`t accept this. Reiterating "reciprocity as the cardinal principle" of diplomatic relations, Tharoor said if the US does not have friendly spirit, then it is diffciult to see the same in us.

Also Read: Treatment meted out to Devyani unacceptable, says Tharoor

1:02 pm: IACC seeks unconditional apology from US

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce has strongly objected to the "humiliating treatment" meted out to Khobragade by the US law enforcement agencies.

"The Chamber considers the action unacceptable and feels that the US government should tender an unconditional apology for the humiliation of the diplomat," said Nanik Rupani, president of Chamber`s West India Council, in a statement here.

Also Read: Diplomat row: IACC seeks unconditional apology from US

12:40 pm: India says US didn`t respond to any of its requests on Khobragade`s domestic help

In a statement that was issued in response to a media query, the Indian embassy in Washington has said that along with the Ministry of External Affairs, it took up the matter of Khobragade`s domestic assistant Sangeeta Richard with the US State Department and the US embassy in New Delhi.

The US, however, did not respond.

The statement added that the Indian embassy had asked for US` assistance in tracing Richard, action against her for blackmailing the Indian diplomat, assistance in repatriating her and arresting her for robbing cash, a mobile phone and documents from the Indian diplomat.

Also Read: Indian embassy`s response to query relating to Devyani Khobragade: Full text

11:56 pm: US apology will be satisfying, says Nath

An apology from America, acceptance of their fault is what we will be satisfied with, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.

Also Read: US will have to apologise in Devyani case: Kamal Nath
11.15 am: Protest outside US consulate in Hyderabad

Activists belonging to Left parties and All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO) gathered near the US consulate in Hyderabad to protest against the US government`s handling of the Devyani issue.

Holding banners that read, "Uncle Sam don`t act ugly with India", protesters shouted slogans against the US administration.

11.00 am: Ensure Devyani comes back with dignity, BJP tells govt

The BJP said the government must keep up the pressure against the United States. "Rajya Sabha has expressed their anguish and has condemned what the US has done to Devyani, who was under diplomatic immunity," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

"Government has said charges will be dropped and will be brought back with full dignity and honour... They must now walk the talk and nothing less will be acceptable by the people."

10:50 am: Salman Khurshid may speak to John Kerry

With India hinting at a deeper conspiracy behind Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade`s arrest in the United States, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to speak to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday evening to clarify on the issue.

Confirming the development, Khurshid told reporters, "Yes it is possible. I will have word with Kerry on Thursday evening. This matter should be resolved. We will do whatever more is needed to be done."

Also Read: Devyani Khobragade arrest: After NSA, John Kerry likely to call Salman Khurshid today

7:45 am: US prosecutor defends actions against Khobragade

Manhattan`s high profile India-born US attorney Preet Bhrara, also known as the "Sherriff of Wall Street", has defended his department`s actions against an Indian diplomat sparking a diplomatic row between India and the US, insisting she was not handcuffed and was given due courtesies.

He also said the domestic help, Sangeeta Richard`s family was "evacuated" from India to protect the "victim" as there were attempts to silence her and compel her to return to India.

But he confirmed that Khobragade was "fully searched" by a female deputy marshal in private as per "standard practice" for "every defendant, rich or poor, American or not."

Otherwise, she was treated very well and was even given coffee and allowed to make phone calls in a car for two hours to arrange for child care.

Also Read: Family of Devyani Khobragade`s maid evacuated from India to protect victim: US attorney

2:38 am: `Kerry was aware of Khobragarde`s arrest`

US Secretary of State John Kerry was aware of the senior Indian diplomat`s arrest.

"He (Kerry) was certainly aware, yes, absolutely. He`s been kept up to speed on this case," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters soon after informing them that Kerry spoke over telephone to the National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

Also Read: `John Kerry was aware of Devyani Khobragarde`s arrest`

12:08 am: John Kerry expresses regret over treatment of Khobragade

US Secretary of State John Kerry called India`s National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon to express his "regret".

In a damage control exercise, Kerry also expressed his concern saying this "unfortunate public issue" of the arrest and strip search of Devyani Khobragade should not be allowed to hurt "our close and vital relationship with India".

Kerry "expressed his regret, as well as his concern that we not allow this unfortunate public issue to hurt our close and vital relationship with India," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said in a readout of the conversation.

Also Read: Diplomat arrest: John Kerry voices regret over Devyani Khobragade’s humiliation

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