An Indian diplomat accused of lying about how much she paid her housekeeper was asked to leave the United States on Thursday after she was indicted on two criminal charges and Indian authorities refused to waive immunity, authorities said.
Devyani Khobragade, 39, was charged by a federal grand jury in New York City with visa fraud and making false statements in a case that has triggered an outcry in India. She’s accused of fraudulently obtaining a work visa for her New York housekeeper. She was expected to leave the country Thursday night.
The U.S. accepted India’s request to accredit her to the United Nations, which confers broader immunity than what she enjoyed as a consular official. It would be almost unprecedented for the U.S. to deny such a request unless the diplomat was a national security risk.
The United States then asked the government of India to waive the immunity, but the Indians refused. The U.S. then “requested her departure” from the country.
Authorities say Khobragade claimed to pay her Indian maid $4,500 per month, but actually gave her far less than the U.S. minimum wage.
Her arrest last month sparked outrage in India after revelations that she was searched and thrown in a cell with other criminal defendants before being released on $250,000 bail.