US charges Indian consular officer with fraud

By AFP
Published: December 13, 2013
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 Devyani Khobragade was charged with visa fraud and poor treatment of her Indian housekeeper at her New York home. Photo: File

Devyani Khobragade was charged with visa fraud and poor treatment of her Indian housekeeper at her New York home. Photo: File

NEW YORK: An Indian consular officer was Thursday charged with visa fraud and making false statements over allegedly underpaying and overworking an Indian babysitter and housekeeper at her New York home.

Devyani Khobragade, 39, was to appear before a US magistrate on Thursday in connection with a visa application for and employment of the domestic worker from November 2012 to June 2013.

The charge sheet said she is currently employed as deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women’s affairs at the Consulate General of India in New York.

“This type of fraud on the United States and exploitation of an individual will not be tolerated,” said Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the southern district of New York.

Diplomats and consular officers are granted visas for domestic workers provided they provide proof that the worker will be paid and treated as fairly as someone employed directly in the United States.

But Khobragade allegedly got a visa by promising the US State Department she would pay $4,500 a month and signing a sham employment contract promising an hourly salary of $9.75.

But she is accused of crafting a separate agreement with the worker for payment of no more than $3.31 and without any safeguards against working longer than 40 hours a week.

According to the charge sheet, the housekeeper worked far longer than 40 hours a week and paid even less than promised separately.

If convicted, Khobragade faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for visa fraud and five years for making false statements.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • siddhartha
    Dec 13, 2013 - 2:27PM

    This how our Govt works (not looking for the rights of that poor housekeeper) and this how US Govt works (no matter citizen of which country, if he/she is in US rights must be protected).

    It was totally the case of exploitation, but our Gvt still supports that high profile diplomat instead of that housekeeper.Recommend

  • Ali Shah
    Dec 13, 2013 - 2:33PM

    Why is this even published?

    Recommend

  • Kazmis
    Dec 13, 2013 - 3:02PM

    Buside Devyani Khobragade, many more in the Embassy and in Indian Govt must have been in the knowledge. Indian Government should also take action against these DE-GENERATED GENES…

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 13, 2013 - 3:55PM

    This is not worthy of being called news.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Dec 13, 2013 - 8:48PM

    @Ali Shah:

    “Why is this even published?”

    @Parvez:

    “This is not worthy of being called news.”

    Why it shouldn’t be published? Because it puts your country in bad light? However, if the same news would have been about some Pakistani diplomat, you definitely wouldn’t have any problem publishing it.

    Recommend

  • Gaga Gee
    Dec 13, 2013 - 9:50PM

    @Lala Gee:
    I think that you too are also an Indian.

    Recommend

  • Great Satan
    Dec 13, 2013 - 11:15PM

    Well, then as the only Pakistani around, i think its perfectly ok to publish such a story, all we read about is the exploitation of poor workers in the middle east etc, its good to read that at least some countries don’t tolerate such behavior and will prosecute the culprits..

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  • Parvez
    Dec 14, 2013 - 12:40AM

    @Lala Gee : Its time to broaden ones outlook. If Jack jumps into the well, does that mean we should follow him ?………….and Lala Gee I am very much a Pakistani and write my views sitting in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • water bottle
    Dec 14, 2013 - 6:52AM

    I for one happy that people like that are punished.

    This is one great thing about USA.

    No matter who you are. No matter how big you are, you are equal before law.

    Unfortunate that we South Asians have not learned anything

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Dec 14, 2013 - 10:28AM

    @Parvez:

    “Lala Gee I am very much a Pakistani and write my views sitting in Pakistan”

    Yep, I know that as you write as Pakistani, but never saw any of your comment supporting Pakistan on any issue. I shall be more than happy if you prove me wrong on my this observation. There are perhaps hundreds of your posts always criticizing, bashing, and blaming Pakistan on almost every issue, however.

    Recommend

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