Blistering India Attack After Bharara Bluster
By Devirupa Mitra | ENS | Published: 20th December 2013 08:32 AM |
Hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to de-escalate tensions by regretting the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara justified police action, prompting the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to give it back to him for questioning the Indian legal system. The MEA asserted that Khobragade was the “only victim” in this case.
While Kerry and US Assistant Secretary of State for political affairs Wendy Sherman worked the phones to reduce India’s fury, the attorney clearly had other ideas. Realising that India had been further outraged, Sherman spoke to foreign secretary Sujatha Singh for the second consecutive day to find a solution and discussed “specific steps”. Official sources said Wendy distanced her country from Bharara’s statement. India is hoping that the US will take the ‘escape route’ of Khobragade’s transfer to the permanent mission of India to the United Nations to accord her full diplomatic immunity and drop charges.
Indian-origin Bharara claimed that cases had been filed against Sangeeta Richard as an “attempt to silence her, and attempts were made to compel her to return to India… Some focus should perhaps be put on why it was necessary to evacuate the family and what actions were taken in India vis-a-vis them,” he argued.
In his reposte, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said: “there is only (one) victim in this case. That victim is Devyani Khobragade – a serving Indian diplomat on mission to the United States.” Akbaruddin pointed out that Bharara acknowledges the legal process in India, but “incredibly… invites speculation about why it was necessary to evacuate the family of Ms Richard and about the action purportedly being taken against them.” “The implication of this remarkable admission needs to be considered very carefully with regard to the implicit comment it makes about the Indian legal system, Indian law enforcement authorities, and the responsibility that legal officials of a foreign government seem to arrogate upon themselves with regard to the nationals of another country,” he said.
On July 2, Khobragade filed a written complaint to the Delhi Police against Sangeeta and her husband Philip Richard under Section 420 of IPC. She also sought recovery of Sangeeta’s official passport. “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,” said Akbaruddin.
SP offers diplomat ticket for LS polls
Lucknow: Amid outrage over the ill-treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade, UP’s minister for urban development and minorities welfare Azam Khan on Thursday offered her to contest in Lok Sabha polls on a Samajwadi Party ticket.