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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Was US govt aware of whereabouts of Khobragade's maid?

PTI  New Delhi, December 18, 2013
First Published: 21:17 IST(18/12/2013) | Last Updated: 21:19 IST(18/12/2013)

Even though the US government feigned ignorance, it may have been aware about the whereabouts of Sangeeta Richard, the maid of Indian deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, who is at the centre of a diplomatic row.

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Indicative of this is that Sangeeta's father-in-law is believed to be working in the US embassy in New Delhi. Sources said the mother-in-law of the maid was also known to the American government as she had worked with a senior diplomat of the US embassy.

Besides these, Sangeeta's husband Philip, a driver with Mozambique Embassy in the capital, was given visa to travel to the US easily and quickly.

The Indian government expressed doubt whether all the requirements for grant of visa to him were fulfilled, particularly those related to adequate salary and financial deposits in his bank account.

Interestingly, the husband along with two children travelled out of the country on December 10, two days ahead of Khobragade's arrest.

Philip was given a T-visa, which allows certain victims of human trafficking and immediate family members to remain and work temporarily in the United States if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against the perpetrators.

Officials in the government also questioned whether the husband's exit from India was facilitated before Khobragade's arrest to make him unreachable to the Indian authorities.

The US government has been telling India that it has no information about the maid, whose disappearance was reported months back by Khobragade to the New York Police Department.

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday told Parliament that there was no action by the US authorities to the complaint lodged about the maid.


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