Indian Diplomat Indicted in the U.S., But Set to Leave Country

At the center of a testy diplomatic incident, Devyani Khobragade was set to leave the U.S. despite being indicted on charges in New York

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Muhammed Jaffer / SnapsIndia / Reuters

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade attends a fundraising event in Long Island, N.Y., on Dec. 8, 2013

The Indian diplomat who has been in legal trouble since last month for lying about her domestic worker’s wages on a U.S. visa application was granted diplomatic immunity and reportedly left the country Thursday just as she was indicted for visa fraud, the Associated Press reports.

Devyani Khobragade was charged with making false statements and fraud after she allegedly claimed on visa documents that her housekeeper was making minimum wage, but actually paid her much less.

Khobragade’s Dec. 12 arrest and subsequent strip search before being released on bail has strained U.S.-Indian relations over the past month. India claimed all along that Khobragade—who was the country’s deputy consul in New York and did advisory work at India’s U.N. mission—deserved diplomatic immunity. Khobragade, for her part, publicly criticized the “indignities” of her arrest, including an alleged body cavity search that U.S. officials have denied conducting.

In a letter to the judge, prosecutors said that the chargers against Khobragade will stay pending until she returns to court to face them, with or without immunity status.