From a missing housekeeper to an indicted diplomat: the Khobragade incident timeline
A missing housekeeper, an extortion demand, a diplomat strip-searched, hand-cuffed, jailed, indicted and sent off - snapshots from the Devyani Khobragade incident.india Updated: Jan 10, 2014 20:38 IST
November, 2012: Sangeeta Richard arrives in the US to work for Devyani Khobragade, deputy consul general at the Indian consulate in New York, at her home as a babysitter, housekeeper -- technically called India Based Domestic Assistant.
June 23: She goes missing. Some days before, Richard seeks Khobragade’s permission to work elsewhere as well. She is turned down as she is in the US on official passport, which prevents her from working for anyone else.
June 24: The Indian consulate in New York informs the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM), a US state department wing that services foreign missions, about the missing housekeeper.
Khobragade also tries to register a complaint with the New york Police Department; but cannot, according to sources.
June 25: The consulate writes a letter to NYPD saying the housekeeper is missing, and that the police should locate her. The NYPD interviews Khobragade in the presence of officials from the consulate.
And a case is registered.
July 1: Khobragade gets a call from a woman who only identifies herself as Richard’s lawyer -- but gives no name. She says her client will go to court if her contract was not terminated, her visa status was not changed and she was not paid $10,000.
She disconnects the phone when asked to identify herself.
July 2: The Consul General of India (head of the Indian consulate in New York) writes to NYPD, and informs OFM, about this phone call, and asks for housekeeper to trace her. Gets no response.
Same day, in New Delhi, a complaint is filed at a New Delhi police station on Khobragade’s behalf alleging a case of cheating against the housekeeper.
July 5: Khobragade complains to NYPD about the call from the mysterious woman saying it was an extortion demand, an attempt to blackmail her.
-- In DC, Indian embassy spoke raised the issue with the state department.
-- In Delhi, MEA briefs the US embassy in Delhi, about the case and the difficulties Khobragade faced in filing a police case.
-- Also in Delhi, a second police case is filed at a New Delhi police station against Richard’s family for willful deceit and attempt to cheat to illegally immigrate to the US by wrongful means.
No response, again.
July 8: Unable to find Richard, India revokes her passport. The OFM is also informed about it and of the fact that the identity card issued to her by the Indian government had also been cancelled. And it seeks assistance in locating her.
Same day, Khobragade is called to an immigration lawyers’ firm in New York, where the above demands were repeated. Richard was present at the negotiations, which don't work out.
July 15: Richard’s husband Philip Richard files a Writ Petition against Dr. Khobragade and the Union of India alleging his wife was in police custody in New York. He withdraws the petition on July 19.
July 30: The consulate reaches out to the OFM again, asking for assistance to locate the housekeeper and send her home to India. But gets no response.
September 4: Letter arrives from state department, saying the housekeeper has made certain allegations and the state department was concerned about them. The Indian embassy should investigate them. There was no mention there of India’s earlier complaints.
September 10: India protests with the US in both Delhi and in DC about the tone and content of the letter. Gets no response, yet again.
September 20: Delhi high court issues an interim order restraining Richard and her husband Philip Richard from initiating legal proceedings against Khobragade anywhere outside India.
October 8: Indian embassy writes to the state department repeating issues raised earlier, saying the September 4 letter did address them
November 19: A Delhi metropolitan magistrate issues a non-bailable arrest warrant against Richard.
December 6: India writes to the state department, and the MEA to the US embassy in Delhi, asking them to instruct relevant authorities to arrest and repatriate Richard to India.
There is no response from the US
December 10: US brings Richard’s family from India
December 12: Khobragade is arrested in New York.
December 20: Khobragade applies for US G-1 visa on transfer to India’s permanent mission to the UN.
January 9: Khobragade is indicted, given immunity and asked to leave the country.