Responding strongly to Preet Bharara, the US federal
prosecutor whose decision to charge highly ranked diplomat Devyani
Khobragade in New York last week created a storm in India, the
government today said that the 39-year-old diplomat is the only victim
in this case. Following is the full text of External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin's statement:
We have seen the statement issued by the Manhattan US Attorney on December 18.
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 the English language.
includes remarks about equality before the law of both the rich and the
poor. 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.
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. It needs to be asked what right a foreign
government has to "evacuate" Indian citizens from India while cases are
pending against them in the Indian legal system.
underlines the compulsion that is felt by the Manhattan US Attorney's
office "to make sure that victims, witnesses and their families are safe
and secure while cases are pending."
This is precisely why, when
there is a prior legal process already underway in India, the Manhattan
US Attorney should consider it obligatory to enable justice to take its
course in India in the first instance. When the legal process in
another friendly and democratic country is interfered with in this
manner, it not only amounts to interference but also raises the serious
concern of calling into question the very legal system of that country.
statement is one more attempt at a post facto rationalization for an
action that should never have taken place in the first instance."