Newz66.com Bureau with inputs from PTI | Thursday, December 19th, 2013
The US, however, did not respond.
The statement added that the Indian embassy had asked for US’ assistance in tracing Richard, action against her for blackmailing the Indian diplomat, assistance in repatriating her and arresting her for robbing cash, a mobile phone and documents from the Indian diplomat. Non-bailable warrants were issued against her by the Delhi High Court and a criminal complaint was filed against the maid six months ago – all this was ignored by the US State Department.
In a strongly-worded statement, the MEA said there were “no courtesies” in the treatment that was meted out to the diplomat, under the normal definition of that word in the English language.
The ministry further said in response to US Attorney Preet Bharara, “It needs to be asked what right a foreign government has to ‘evacuate’ Indian citizens from India while cases are pending against them in Indian legal system.”
“The statement (of Preet Bharara) underlines the compulsion that is felt by the Manhattan US Attorney’s office “to make sure that victims, witnesses and their families are safe and secure while cases are pending.”
“This statement is one more attempt at a post facto rationalisation for an action that should never have taken place in the first instance.”
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said he had received a call from his American counterpart John Kerry last night but he was not available at that time to take it and that is the reason the US secretary of state talked to the national security advisor.
“I was not available when John Kerry called. We are trying to lock a time for a call this evening or may be tomorrow. Kerry is in the Philippines and there is a huge time difference,” he said.
Though Khurshid said he was not available to take Kerry’s call, speculation is that the call was not taken by the minister to show India’s unhappiness over the case against its diplomat and the way she was treated.
Noting that the case (against Khobragade) does not “deserve to be pursued” and should be withdrawn unconditionally, he said, “Our relationship has a lot of investment, it is an irreversible matter and we have to deal with it sensibly,” The minister said.
Kerry had last night called up national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and expressed regret over the treatment meted out to Khobragade.
A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade was arrested on December 12 on visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school and released on a USD 250,000 bond only after pleading not guilty in court.
The ill-treatment of its diplomat evoked a sharp reaction from India which initiated a slew of steps to downgrade the privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats and their families including withdrawing airport passes and stopping import clearances.
The minister, who refused to comment on federal prosecutor Preet Bharara’s statement defending the arrest and strip-search of Khobragade, said he would not react to an individual’s opinion.
Khurshid asserted, “This is not a case that deserves treating her like a common criminal…Our responsibility is to ensure dignity of the officer is preserved. We are not putting any terms except humane and responsible response to something of concern to us.”