India tears into Bharara for defending action against diplomat

Source : PTI
Last Updated: Thu, Dec 19, 2013 14:19 hrs
Preet Bharara - Indian-born US attorney who's leading the Wall Street crackdown

New Delhi: India today hit back at US Attorney Preet Bharara, who had justified Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's arrest, accusing him of interfering with the Indian legal system and asserting that the arrest was not in keeping with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity.

Criticising the US Prosecutor for making statement for "post facto rationalization" for an action that should never have taken place in the first instance, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said there were no courtesies extended to Khobragade, who is the only "victim" in this case.

He said despite acknowledging that legal process were in place in India, the statement talks why it was necessary to evacuate the family of absconding maid Sangeeta Richard, thereby, making "implicit comment" about the Indian legal system, its enforcement authorities, and the responsibility that legal officials of a foreign government seem to "arrogate upon" themselves with regard to nationals of another country.

"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 United States.

"The action taken against her was not in keeping with the Vienna Convention. There were no courtesies in the treatment that was meted out to the diplomat, under the normal definition of that word in English language," he said.

Observing that the statement includes remarks about equality before the law of both the rich and the poor, the Spokesperson said, "Not only is this a rhetorical remark that is not conducive to resolving 'inaccuracies', it is also not a feature of the law that is exclusive to the office of the Manhattan US Attorney."

In a statement in the US, the India-born Bharara not only defended the action against Khobragade but also said that maid Sangeeta Richard's family has been brought to the US. He said a legal process was started in India to "silence her and attempts were made to compel her to return to India".

Reacting to this, MEA said, "The statement in question acknowledges that legal processes were in place in India. Yet, incredibly, it invites speculation about why it was necessary to evacuate the family of Ms Richards 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."

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 the 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.

More from Sify: