President-elect Donald Trump has asked Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, to continue, making him the third Indian-American to get the nod for the incoming administration.
Bharara, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and had acquired a reputation for being tough on insider trading and other securities scams, met Trump on Wednesday morning triggering speculation of an administration position.
“The president-elect asked, presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done over the past seven years, asked to meet with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the United States attorney to do the work as we have done it, independently, without fear or favour for the last seven years,” Bharara told reporters.
“We had a good meeting. I said I would absolutely consider staying on. I agreed to stay on. I have already spoken to Senator Sessions, who is as you know is the nominee to be the attorney general. He also asked that I stay on, and so I expect that I will be continuing to work at the southern district.”
He is the third Indian-American to get a nod from Trump to join his admiration after South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who has been tapped for US ambassador to UN, and Seema Verma for medicaid and medicare services.
Bharara is also possibly the first Obama appointee Trump has asked to continue, which is not very rare. Obama had asked Bob Gates, who was appointed by President George W Bush, to continue as his secretary of defence.
US attorneys prosecute federal crimes, and Bharara has built a reputation for pursuing securities crimes that has earned him the sobriquet “Sheriff of Wall Street”.
Bharara became unpopular in India for prosecuting diplomat Devyani Khobragade in 2013 for allegedly providing false information on a visa application for a domestic help she brought with her from India.