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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Charges against me are 'false and baseless': Devyani Khobragade

PTI  New York, January 10, 2014
First Published: 11:07 IST(10/1/2014) | Last Updated: 12:45 IST(10/1/2014)

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on Friday asserted that the charges against her in a US court are "false and baseless" and the stand taken by her and the Indian government in the case will be "vindicated".

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"The charges against me are false and baseless. I look forward to proving them wrong," Khobragade told PTI as she boarded the plane back to India.

The 39-year-old diplomat also affirmed her determination to ensure that this episode does not leave a lasting imprint on her family, in particular her children who are still in the United States.

Khobragade was today indicted by a US grand jury for visa fraud and allegedly making false statements. The jury held that the charges against her will remain even as she headed back to India after being accorded full diplomatic immunity.

She will have to face trial, if she returns to the US without diplomatic immunity, US Attorney Preet Bharara said.

A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade was arrested on December 12 on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid. She was released on a USD 250,000 bond.

The diplomat was strip searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two sides with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats.

"I want to thank my minister, my colleagues in MEA and other ministries and departments, our entire political leadership, our media, and last but not the least all the women and men of our country who stood by me in this terrible situation. The stand that my government and I have taken will be vindicated," she added.


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