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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

US knew Devyani Khobragade had diplomatic immunity; yet arrested, strip-searched her: India

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 31, 2013
First Published: 22:08 IST(31/12/2013) | Last Updated: 10:09 IST(1/1/2014)

Indian government believes that the United Nations had informed the US state department about Devyani Khobragade’s accreditation to the world body, which entitled her to full diplomatic immunity despite which she was arrested and strip-searched on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her nanny on December 12.

Khobragade was accredited to the United Nations as an advisor from August 26 to December 31.

“..It is for UN to make formal announcement. I myself have been an international civil servant for long. I would find it extremely surprising if an international organisation does not apprise host government about accreditations”, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

“There are mechanisms at the UN to periodically inform host country about all those who have been accredited to various categories in the organisation”.

Replying to questions whether Devyani told the US police about her full diplomatic immunity, the spokesperson said, “As diplomats, we are aware of our ranks.

"The legal implications of all these is the matter to indicate. She had repeatedly said she was India’s deputy consul general in New York and at no stage she was asked whether she had additional entitlement that would have helped her”.

“Let’s not blame the victim for the lack of information on the part of those who should have known and preparing on this for a long time,” he added.

The external affairs ministry has also said that it will seriously pursue the details of the Indian staffers at the US missions as well as that of the three American schools in the country, which the American authorities are yet to submit.

The deadline for submitting such details passed on December 23.


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