Khobragade stripped of duties, denies breaking rules

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2014 18:41 IST

Diplomat Devyani Khobragade has reacted to the action against her by the ministry of external affairs saying she has not broken any service rules in talking to the media.

Speaking to the Indian Express on Saturday after the MEA action, Khobragade said she has not violated any rules under the civil services act and that she was just clarifying her stand over the charge that her children were having illegal passports.

"My statements were within the ambit of the section(9) of the civil services rules of 1964," she told the Indian Express

Khobrade's reaction came after the ministry of external affairs stripped her of her duties as director in the development partnership division of MEA for giving a statement in the media.

Devyani Khobragade was arrested and strip-searched in New York last December while serving as India's deputy consul-general on charges of mistreating her servant.

She had denied the charge and subsequently returned to India, but the incident triggered fury in New Delhi and led to the resignation of then US ambassador Nancy Powell.

Reports on Saturday said Khobragade has been removed from her current post in the foreign ministry for an unauthorised media interview and for not disclosing that her children held US passports.

"The reports are not incorrect. It is true that she has been placed on compulsory wait," a source in the ministry told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that Khobragade now faces an administrative inquiry.

'Compulsory wait' implies that Khobragade remains in ministerial service but without a specific job.

The action comes a week after the mother-of-two spoke to NDTV news channel about her arrest and strip search in New York.

During the interview, Khobragade said that her "kids were born in the US and are considered US citizens", a statement that reportedly took the ministry by surprise.

Khobragade returned to India under a deal a month after her December 2013 arrest for allegedly paying a domestic worker a fraction of the minimum wage and for lying about the employee's salary in a visa application.

The row between the two countries saw weeks of feisty exchanges that strained bilateral ties and left resentment on both sides.

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