Khobragade seeks dismissal of visa fraud case against her

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 15, 2014 04:28 hrs

New York: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has asked a court here to dismiss the indictment against her and terminate any "open" arrest warrants in visa fraud case, arguing that she was "cloaked" in diplomatic immunity and cannot face criminal prosecution in the US.

Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack yesterday filed a memorandum of law on her behalf in the Southern District of New York in support of themotion to dismiss the case and terminate any future legal action against her "on grounds of diplomatic immunity."

"Dr Khobragade now formally moves this Court to dismiss the instant proceeding, to rescind the conditions of her release, and eliminate her bail conditions as she is immune from criminal prosecution in the United States as she was obligated, by the United States government, to leave the jurisdiction," Arshack said in thefiling.

Arshack is seeking a court order to dismiss the indictment and proceeding against the Indian diplomat, terminate any and all conditions of bail previously imposed by the court during Khobragade's initial appearance on December 12 and exonerate any bail or bond previously posted on her behalf.

The motion is alsoseeking termination of any "open arrest warrants" against Khobragade or "requests for extradition" with regard to the case as "they too are nullities since the instant proceeding is subject to dismissal."

"I make this affirmation in support of Khobragade's motion to dismiss the instant proceeding as a nullity because both at the time of her arrest, as well as atthe time of her subsequent indictment, defendant was cloaked in diplomatic immunity and has absolute immunity from any criminal prosecution in the United States," he said.

Arshack is seeking a ruling on the order by Judge Shira Scheindlin on or before January 31.

The office of Manhattan's top federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, whobrought the criminal charges and indictment against Khobragade said they have "no comment at this time" on the motion filed by Arshack.

The filing states that because of Khobragade's diplomatic status, the court did not have personal jurisdiction over her at the time of her arrest and indictment, but it still has subject matter jurisdiction to rule over her motion to dismiss the case.

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