NEW DELHI, Jan 11 � India today insisted that the US should drop the charges of visa fraud against its diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who has returned here after being expelled by the American authorities, reports PTI.
Khobragade, who was arrested in New York on December 12 and returned home yesterday, was not guilty of any wrongdoing, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.
Meanwhile, Khobragade met Khurshid and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh here and told them about her ordeal. She also thanked them for their support.
American diplomat Wayne May, Chief of the embassy�s diplomatic security contingent, who was expelled by India in a tit-for-tat action, was readying to leave. He had been given about 48 hours yesterday by the Indian government to do so.
Defending India�s stand on the issue, Khurshid told Karan Thapar for CNN-IBN�s Devil�s Advocate, that India will continue pressing for dropping of visa fraud charges against Khobragade and made it clear that there was no rethink on restoring extra privileges to American diplomats here.
Asserting that Khobragade was not guilty of wrongdoings as charged by the US authorities, Khurshid said efforts would be on to �clean up things completely� to the satisfaction of both the sides.
Describing Khobragade episode as a �mini crisis�, the minister also defended India�s decision to ask the US Embassy here to stop commercial activities from within its premises and withdrawal of the extra privileges, saying �No, there wasn�t retaliation. I think it was an appropriate response, not a retaliation.�
Asserting that India should not be seen extending more privileges to one country and less to others, he said, �We did what really are the formal procedures that apply to everybody.
Meanwhile, Khobragade refused to comment on the episode involving her. �No comments. I am really thankful for all your support.... I cannot make any comment. The government will speak for me. My lawyer will speak for me,� she said.
Meanwhile, a report from Washington adds that expelled Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, in effect, has been barred entry into the US, with the State Department saying her name would be placed in visa and immigration lookout systems to prevent routine issuance of visa.
Khobragade�s departure from the US, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, does not change the charges against the 39-year-old diplomat. �Her name would be placed in visa and immigration lookout systems to prevent the routine issuance of any future visa and upon her departure a warrant may be issued for her arrest,� she said.
From the comments made by the State Department spokesperson, it is clear that Khobragade is being virtually treated as a �persona non grata� and may be permitted to visit the US only to subject herself to the jurisdiction of court.
The US has said that Khobragade, who has returned to New Delhi, no longer enjoys immunity and an arrest warrant might be issued against her.