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Diplomat row: US accused of interfering in Indian affairs

New Delhi, Dec 19, 2013 (IANS) 18:29 IST
India accused American officials of interfering with the Indian legal system. AP file image
India hit back Thursday at the US over the arrest of its diplomat Devyani Khobragade and accused American officials of interfering with the Indian legal system.

Describing Khobragade as the "only ... victim" in this case, the external affairs ministry said the action taken against her violated the Vienna Convention.

"There were no courtesies in the treatment meted out to the diplomat, under the normal definition of that word in the English language," said spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

The spokesman was responding to a Wednesday statement from the Manhattan US Attorney.

Khobragade was arrested in New York last week on charges of visa fraud and not paying her domestic help Sangeeta Richard. The diplomat has said she was humiliated in custody -- a charge the US has denied.

The ministry Thursday questioned the need for the US to stealthily evacuate from India the family of Richard, against whom Khobragade filed a case of cheating in New Delhi last year.

The Indian statement said the US admission that it was necessary to evacuate the family of Richard "needs to be considered very carefully with regard to the implicit comment it makes" about India's legal system.

"It needs to be asked what right a foreign government has to 'evacuate' Indian citizens from India while cases are pending against them in the Indian legal system...

"When the legal process in another friendly and democratic country is interfered with in this manner, it not only amounts to interference but also raises the serious concern of calling into question the very legal system of that country.

"It is our considered view that this statement is one more attempt at a post facto rationalization for an action that should never have taken place in the first instance."

The spokesman added: "We need to keep in mind the simple fact that there is only one victim in this case.

"That victim is Devyani Khobragade - a serving Indian Diplomat on mission in the US."

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