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Indian Diplomat Khobragade Indicted by the U.S. Again

Devyani Khobragade
Indian consular worker Devyani Khobragade waves after visiting Chaitya Bhoomi, a memorial to Indian freedom fighter BR Ambedkar in Mumbai in a Jan. 14, 2014 file photo. Photographer: Kalpak Pathak/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Devyani Khobragade, the Indian consular worker whose arrest for visa fraud in New York triggered an international row, was re-indicted by the U.S. after a judge threw out the previous case citing her diplomatic status.

U.S. authorities arrested Khobragade in December in front of her child’s school and accused her of lying on a visa application about what she was paying a babysitter. She was held by the U.S. Marshals Service in the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, strip-searched and put with other female suspects.

News of her treatment triggered a furor in India, and was followed by the scaling back of security outside the U.S. embassy in New Delhi and protests demanding a ban on American goods. Khobragade was indicted on Jan. 9 and left the U.S. the same day.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said on March 12 that Khobragade had diplomatic immunity when she was indicted and shouldn’t face charges. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that ruling didn’t bar him from refiling charges.

The new indictment, filed today, mirrors the first, accusing Khobragade of fraud and misuse of visa permits and of making false statements. It says Khobragade lied about her babysitter’s pay because she “did not want to pay the required wages under U.S. law or provide the victim with other protections against exploitative work conditions mandated by U.S. law.”

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge William Pauley.

Daniel Arshack, a lawyer for Khobragade, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment about the new indictment.

The case is U.S. v. Khobragade, 14-cr-176, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in Manhattan federal court at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Andrew Dunn, Peter Blumberg

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