As the crisis over the Indian diplomat escalated, anguished at the slew of hate mails aimed at Devyani Khobragade accusing her of using ‘slave labour’, her sister Sharmistha came out in her defense, saying the nanny, Sangeeta Richard, had never been ill-treated. Instead, she claimed, in a Facebook post on Thursday morning, Richard had been blackmailing Khobragade to get herself a green card.
Sharmistha said shortly after leaving her sister’s employment in June, Richard had resurfaced and asked Khobragade to meet her at an immigration lawyer's office and made three demands, including a payment of $10,000 in cash. "She faced Devyani across a negotiating table and made three demands which were to be complied with in return for not bringing a suit on Devyani: $10,000 in cash, a normal Indian passport (she was on a diplomatic passport which was revoked soon after she absconded) and immigration support."
She also said that at this meeting, Khobragade had been accompanied by other staff from the consulate, “so everything in this meeting can be verified and substantiated by a third party''. And it was on the basis of this meeting that a case of extortion, blackmail and breach of trust was registered against Richard in India and an arrest warrant had been issued by a magistrate.
Sharmistha said her sister had treated Richard well. She had been given two large, comfortable rooms and was allowed to pace her work out as she wished. "She was provided a mobile phone, had bought an Ipad, which she often used to Facebook, and could communicate with whoever she wished, whenever she wished, in India or New York…. Her passport and copies of contract documents were in her own custody and not Devyani’s," the post read.