US dismisses charges as idiotic Khobragade episode “ends”

I remain convinced that this was a “ploy by a maid and her family to get visas for the US with US consular officials in Delhi conniving with the New York prosecutor”.

The “bad guys” in this story are Wayne May – the US consular official – and Preet Bharara the ambitious New York prosecutor who were certainly involved in some form of “conniving together”. Sangeeta Richard – the maid – comes out as just being opportunistic. Devayani Khobragade herself comes out as either being – at best – naive, and – at worst – somewhat incompetent.

In any event the case generated much diplomatic heat between India and the US but has now been brought to a sort of conclusion with a US Federal judge dismissing all charges. However the dismissal is not because there was no substance in the charges but because she should have been granted immunity.

The Hindu

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on Thursday won dismissal of the indictment against her for visa fraud, with a U.S. judge ruling she had full diplomatic immunity although prosecutors are not barred from bringing new charges in future.

District Judge Shira Scheindlin said in her 14-page order that “it is undisputed” that Ms. Khobragade acquired full diplomatic immunity at 5:47 p.m. on January 8 after the U.S. State Department approved her accreditation as a counsellor to India’s mission to the United Nations.

While the indictment was returned on January 9, Ms. Khobragade had the immunity till she departed from the U.S. for India on the evening of January 9 and so the prosecutors cannot proceed with the current indictment.

“Ms. Khobragade’s motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground of diplomatic immunity is granted. Ms. Khobragade’s conditions of bail are terminated, and her bond is exonerated. It is ordered that any open arrest warrants based on this indictment must be vacated,” Ms. Scheindlin said in her 14-page order, capping months of unprecedented diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and India.

“On January 9, immediately following the return of the indictment, Ms. Khobragade appeared before the court through counsel and moved to dismiss the case. Because the court lacked jurisdiction over her at that time, and at the time the indictment was returned, the motion must be granted,” the judge said ordering that the motion and the case be closed.

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