Diplomat Devyani flying back to India

New Delhi, Jan 10 : Indian diplomat in USA, Devyani Khobragade, who was charged with a visa fraud, arrested, strip-searched and then kept in a lock up with ordinary criminals in New York before her release last month, is flying back to India after nearly a month of a raging controversy that soured the relations between the two nations with India hitting back with a clutch of actions at home against US establishements.

Khobragade's father and the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Friday that that she is air-borne and bound for India.

While India continued to fume over the treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade after her arrest and pushed USA to drop the charges of visa fraud against her over her missing Indian housekeeper and controversy over her "low wages" in America, the US had said she has to undergo the judicial process there.

She was subsequently transferred to a UN posting by India offering her more immunity though the charges against her remained. Devyani was the Deputy Consul General of India in New York when she was arrested.

On Friday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Devyani Khobragade has been given G1 visa with full diplomatic immunity on 8 Jan 2014. "Airborne on way back to India," he tweeted.

"Devyani Khobragade given G1 visa by #USA according her full diplomatic immunity. #India transfers her back. She is now flying home," his tweet said.

Meanwhile, the father of Devyani Khobragade, former bureaucrat Uttam Khobragade, confirming the news said for them the pride of India is above everything else and they are happy that she is coming back.

"We are proud Indians," he said adding that they would not want to touch the soil of a country which treats women with indignity.

"Her family would join us in India very soon," he said.

"These are crises created by the US government. As far as Indian government is concerned I have every appreciation. They did whatever they can," he said, thanking all for standing by them.

"The government did what best they can do. We are grateful to the Government of India," he said.

Preet Bharara, India born US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who had ordered her arrest, had justified the action against Devyani Khobragade.

India also had started hitting back at the United States over the maltreatment of its diplomat Devyani Khobragade by taking a clutch of measures against the US diplomats and their families in India with some moves as symbolic as removing barricades outside US embassy in New Delhi.

US diplomats and their families were asked to surrender their identity cards and their airport passes were withdrawn after it was known that the Indian diplomat was strip searched and put with drug addicts in a cell in USA after her arrest.

In the latest measure, India has asked the US embassy to shut down all "commercial" facilities on its premises by Jan 16.

--IBNS (Posted on 10-01-2014)

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