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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Diplomat row: US holds back staff salary details

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 26, 2013
First Published: 00:00 IST(26/12/2013) | Last Updated: 08:56 IST(26/12/2013)

India is ready to harden its stand against the US authorities “dragging their feet” on providing information about names and salaries of Indians working at the embassy and its four consulates in New Delhi.

The external affairs ministry had sought the information from the US authorities in the wake of the ill treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on the charges of visa fraud and underpaying her nanny.

Read: Rumblings in US Congress over lowered security in Delhi embassy

The idea behind seeking this information was apparently to find out whether the US is paying its Indian staff in embassies and consulates as per its laws.

Since the Khobragade row also involves her being charged for not paying her nanny the US minimum wages, New Delhi was keen to know whether Indian staffers working in US missions here — which are US territories — are being paid the minimum wages as per American law.

Read: India cancels all ID cards issued to US consular officials

The deadline for submitting these details, including the names and salaries of those working as helps in the households of US diplomats and other officials, was December 23, but the US has sought more time.

Khobragade has submitted that she paid the nanny $1,560 a month (in line with US labour laws) and suggested that the US authorities had goofed up, mistaking her $4,500 salary in the nanny’s visa form as the latter’s salary.

Read: Khobragade’s lawyer calls $4,500 salary charge an error, blames US for it

Khobragade’s defence will be that she and the nanny were in a mutually agreed and advantageous contractual relationship, for which there are material evidences and witnesses.

These contracts include the mandatory state department contract, signed on November 11, and the one signed in India for sending `30,000 per month to India.

Read: India hopeful of early resolution in Devyani row


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