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Devyani no longer enjoys immunity, may face arrest warrant: US

January 11, 2014 01:41 IST

The United States o Friday said senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who returned to New Delhi, no longer enjoys immunity and she and Indian government were told that an arrest warrant might be issued against her.

“Prior to her (Devyani Khobragade) departure, it was conveyed to her and to the government of India that she is not permitted to return to the United States except to submit to the jurisdiction of the court.

"Her name would be placed in visa and immigration lookout systems to prevent the routine issuance of any future visa and upon her departure a warrant may be issued for her arrest", the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, told reporters.

Khobragade’s departure from the US, she said, does not change the charges against her.

On Thursday, she was indicted in a New York court on two counts of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts.

“The charges remain in place. There are processes thatare standard processes in each of these cases, which we were abiding by throughout this process,” the State Department spokesperson insisted.

Earlier on Friday in New York, Khobragade was indicted for visa fraud and making false statements by a grand jury which held that the charges against her will remain with main Manhattan prosecutor Preet Bharara saying "there will not need to be an arraignment on the indictment scheduled at this time.

We understand that the defendant was very recently accorded diplomatic immunity status.

"Therefore, the charges will remain pending until such time as she can be brought to Court to face the charges, either through a waiver of immunity or the defendant’s return to the United States in a non-immune status....".

Arrested on December 12, Khobragade was strip-searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two sides with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps. 

Lalit K Jha in Washington