Diplomat Devyani Khobragade stripped of duties after TV interview

Devyani KhobragadeDevyani Khobragade, the junior Indian diplomat pulled out of the US under a cloud of visa fraud accusations, can't keep herself out of the news. Now, the external affairs ministry has stripped her of her latest duties as director in the 'partnership development' division on the ground of giving an unauthorised interview to a TV channel.

The ministry says Khobragade did not take due permission before making statements about her arrest and alleged public strip-search in the US; and put her under "compulsory watch".
Sources say that the administrative action was taken against Khobragade also because the ministry is "miffed" with the IFS officer for not disclosing that her children have US passports. She is facing a vigilance inquiry over the issue.

In the NDTV interview about a week back, she had said, "Some false reports have come in the newspapers that there is some illegality around my children's passports and that I hid a fact that my children have American passports. There is nothing of that sort, I myself informed the government that my kids were born in the US and are considered US citizens."

On the allegations of falsifying documents levelled against her by the judicial panel that investigated Mumbai's Adarsh Housing Society scam, Khobragade said, "My father never handled the Adarsh file, therefore he never violated any of the service rules. The CBI has now closed its inquiry and neither my name nor my father's name figures in that report. So that rests the allegations of corruption and wrongdoing."

Khobragade, a 1999 batch Indian Foreign Service officer and mother of two daughters, was arrested and allegedly strip-searched in New York in December last year on charges of underpaying her domestic help after bringing her in on an illegitimate visa. The incident had strained the relations between India and the US.

The external affairs ministry has taken a serious view of her recent statements to the media without prior permission from the government and she has now been placed under a 'compulsory wait'.

MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that the action taken against Khobragade was related to an ongoing inquiry against her in a vigilance case.

The vigilance case against Khobragade is underway on charges that she had failed to disclose that her husband is a US citizen and that she has got US passports for her two children.