Richard Kin Flight Plan Drawn up by US Diplomat Nexus
By Yatish Yadav | Published: 19th January 2014 07:18 AM |
Five US diplomats, with the tacit support of the US State Department, hatched the plan to evacuate domestic help Sangeeta Richard’s family from India just two days before the arrest and strip-search of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York on December 12, say intelligence officials.
Immediately after news of the illegal evacuation of Indian citizens appeared in the media on December 19, intelligence operatives mounted efforts to prevent further damage by US officials who carried out covert operations under the guise of diplomatic privileges.
According to sources, intelligence efforts unmasked a group of conspirators connected to 5, Aurangzeb Lane in Lutyens’ Delhi, which is notified as an official residence for US diplomats. They include Timothy Haley and his wife Joyce Haley, Uzra Zeya in Washington, and Wayne and Alicia May in Delhi.
Intelligence officials gathered that Sangeeta’s in-laws worked for Geoffrey R Pyatt, who served in India almost a decade ago. Their last employer was Wayne May, who was deported last week in retaliation for the expulsion of Khobragade. Officials said Pyatt, who is currently US ambassador to Ukraine, was the first US diplomat who hired Richard’s in-laws at 5, Aurangzeb Lane, when he was posted as Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs from 2002 to 2007.
The in-laws were later employed by Uzra Zeya, Political Counsellor at US Embassy in New Delhi. Zeya, who had earlier worked as a deputy executive secretary to former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, served in Delhi between 2009 and 2011. She too stayed at 5, Aurangzeb Lane.
Uzra Zeya, Other US Diplomats Behind Richard’s Evacuation
A house in a leafy lane in Lutyen’s Delhi and its past and present inhabitants played a large role in the “evacuation” of diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s domestic help Sangeeta Richard’s husband and two children to the US.
After Uzra Zeya, Political Counsellor at US Embassy in New Delhi left India, Richard’s in-laws were employed by Timothy Haley, Counsellor, Regional Security Office, who occupied the same address. Haley came to India sometime in August 2011 after a stint in Mexico. According to sources, he recently left India to temporarily work at the US State Department in Washington. He was replaced by Wayne May. “However, Haley’s wife Joyce, who works in the consular section of the US embassy in Delhi, stayed back and reportedly facilitated the T-visa for Sangeeta’s husband Philip Richard, daughter Jennifer and son Jatin. This was allegedly done on the direction of Haley and Zeya in Washington,” a source claimed. According to officials, after her deputation to the US embassy in Delhi, Zeya served as Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary William Burns. She also worked as Executive Secretary, at the US State Department’s Accountability Review Board probing the September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.
However, a US committee on foreign affairs in a meeting in May 2013 had raised suspicion over Zeya’s role in the Benghazi probe after she allegedly shielded Burns and Hillary Clinton from being summoned by the ARB for questioning about the attack. But, the incident is said to have given her career a major boost and she was appointed acting
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor on March 2013. “Zeya allegedly played a major role in converting the entire low wages controversy into a human trafficking issue. Later, Zeya’s department gave trafficking victim status to Sangeeta Richard and expedited the T-visa application for her family,” intelligence officials said. The money - `1 lakh - for the AI 101 flight tickets for the Richards were paid by Alicia May, wife of expelled US diplomat Wayne May. Alicia, who was working as community liaison officer at the US embassy, New Delhi, had given her office phone number for passenger contact.
“This was done to portray that the US embassy was not directly involved in the evacuation conspiracy and individuals had taken the decision. Intelligence gathered so far in the case reveals that all senior officials were in the loop and they knew about the evacuation plan,” sources said. Intelligence agencies are also looking into details of Indian citizens employed by the US embassy. Earlier, they had requested a list of people through proper channels. A senior official said they were informed that the US has sought legal opinion from Washington over sharing the list and the process could be further delayed.
“All unnamed passes were suspended and the Bureau of Immigration has been asked to extend similar treatment as given to Indian officials in the US,” a source added.