New York: Did the office of Manhattan’s India-born prosecutor Preet Bharara goof up in the paperwork for the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade to spark a major India-US diplomatic row?
Khobragade’s lawyer Daniel Arschack claims so, suggesting that India’s then deputy consul general in New York was only arrested because a federal agent “erroneously and disastrously” misread a visa application form for her housekeeper and babysitter.
The US federal agent in the case “simply made an error in reading the form which supported the visa application for the domestic worker”, Arschack was quoted as saying by New York Daily News.
Arshack, according to the daily, believes the agent mistakenly thought the $4,500 a month salary entered on the form was what Khobragade intended to pay her nanny Sangeeta Richard.
It was instead the base salary expected by Khobragade at her job, and included in the form to show the employer made enough money to pay her employee, he said.
Khobragade, 39, who was strip-searched and freed on $250,000 bail after her December 12 arrest has pleaded not guilty in the Manhattan Federal Court to charges of visa fraud and making false statements on Richard’s visa application.