The Devyani Khobragade case: Ambitious prosecutor seeks publicity while India objects to an attack on privilege

The Devyani Khobragade case is causing waves in India -US diplomatic relations but I have difficulty to generate much sympathy for any of the parties involved.

The diplomat: Devyani Khobragade is a consular official and not a full-diplomat and she was trying to get her maid very cheaply. She was certainly subject to treatment which was  humiliating and undignified but the affront is primarily to her pride and the culture of privilege which prevails in India (and not only India of course).

The maid: Sangeeta Richard and her husband (and their advisors) are opportunists who are trying to circumvent visa restrictions and are trying to achieve a more permanent status to stay in the US. (There is little chance that she will retain her job with Khobragade). But the maid’s behaviour is rather suspect. “Why did the US grant visas to her husband and children and fly them out to the US two days before Devyani Khobragade was arrested in full public glare and strip searched? And Sangeeta’s father-in-law is apparently on the staff of the US embassy in New Delhi. A little blackmail and massive publicity  is seen as being a “good” thing in achieving their objective. In fact the fuss being made by the Indian establishment suggests that their lawyer could even make a claim for political asylum!

The prosecutor: US attorney Preet Bharara has been remarkably voluble in justifying his actions. That itself illustrates his clear political ambitions. No US prosecutor acts without an eye to the resultant publicity and his career development and – in many cases – his political ambitions. It is inconceivable that the particular prosecutor in this case (also of Indian origin) did not calculate the boost he would get.

The Indian political establishment: The entire Indian establishment (politicians and press) have had their nationalistic hackles aroused. Their culture of privilege is being attacked. The diplomat was subjected to a “cavity search”. Good grief! This is rape! Clearly a case of official rape by rampant US officialdom on a defenceless Indian woman!! To be seen to be fighting for a “raped woman” is very politically correct these days in India. Fighting for an underpaid maid – who is not from the privileged classes – does not win the same number of brownie points. (Note that a crime against a privileged person is always much much worse than the same crime against one of the lower classes).

The US political establishment: The US is probably a little bemused at how this has got out of hand. Kerry has expressed his regret  and “empathizes with the sensitivities we are hearing from India” but has not apologised. He cannot chastise an over-ambitious prosecutor who has used due process to further his political ambitions. Bharara could have behaved in a civilised manner but chose not to. He himself – of course – belongs to the privileged class of the US.

It has all the elements of a conspiracy and en entrapment (Sangeeta Richards, her father-in-law, unnamed US officials at the US Embassy in Delhi and the New York prosecutor Preet Bharara). For a lawyer specialising in corruption, Bharara’s behaviour is close to being morally corrupt in itself. No doubt Devyani Khobragade tried to get her maid cheap but some “entrapment” and publicity-seeking is apparent.

Interesting behaviour but all rather inconsequential.

 

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One Response to “The Devyani Khobragade case: Ambitious prosecutor seeks publicity while India objects to an attack on privilege”

  1. Khobragade: Observing the niceties – for an idiotic episode | The k2p blog Says:

    […] comes out of this nonsense very […]

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