India expels U.S. diplomat of the same rank in retaliation
Former Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade reached New Delhi on Friday night after the U.S. gave her full diplomatic immunity even as India asked Washington to send back a diplomat of the same rank as Ms. Khobragade.
Although she didn’t meet the waiting media at the Delhi airport, her father, who received her, told reporters she was “fine and happy to be home.” Ms. Khobragade boarded an aircraft in New York on a day a grand jury indicted her for visa fraud and making false statements.
Suggesting a de facto expulsion, U.S. officials were quoted as saying that after granting Ms. Khobragade’s request for full U.N. diplomatic immunity, the State Department had “requested her departure” from the country, especially after “the Indians refused… to waive the immunity.”
Her lawyers hit out at the office of the prosecutors, describing their investigation as “shoddy” and accusing Attorney Preet Bharara of issuing “baseless charges.”
The MEA put out a statement early on Friday morning, announcing Ms. Khobragade’s departure. It also said that U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz would not cancel his visit to India, as was announced by the State Department a day earlier.
Before leaving U.S., Ms. Khobragade insisted she was innocent and thanked the Indian government, the people at large and the media for their support.