Khobragade's arrest on December 12 and alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the US authorities had caused a furore in India, prompting New Delhi to put into place a barrage of retaliatory measures.
The day before the diplomat returned to India, a federal jury in the US indicted her for visa fraud and mistreating her maid. The US expressed the hope that bilateral ties could now progress smoothly as the row had been resolved.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the consulate general of India in New York and the US Department of Homeland Security will have a ceremony on Tuesday at which stolen Indian artifacts worth US$ 1.5 million will be returned to India.
Khobragade cannot return to the US on an ordinary passport. If she does, the legal proceedings against her will continue. She was indicted for visa fraud and making false statements. Here are some of the details contained in the indictment:
1) The diplomat didn't let her maid take sick days, or go to church.
Khobragade was loath to give her maid sick days, though her contract allowed her seven sick days with pay each year. The diplomat even told her employee not to fall sick as it was expensive. On one occassion, Sangeeta Richard, the maid, had to ask her employer several times for permission to let her see a doctor before Khobragade relented. In her first two months on the job, at the end of November 2012, Richard could not attend church, and was allowed to do so only after she requested it repeatedly after the first few months. She had to cook all the meals for Sunday the day before, and could go to church only if Khobragade's husband, a US citizen who teaches at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, was home on the weekend. Richard fled Khobragade's home in July 2013.
2) Richard was asked to sign a document confessing that she had been stealing from Khobragade.
Once Richard left the diplomat's service, she approached an immigration office that helps victims of human trafficking. Khobragade then met Richard with an associate at the office, in which she demanded that the maid sign a paper that was folded so its contents were hidden. Richard refused to sign after a worker at the office told her it said that Richard had stolen from Khobragade.
3) Khobragade often made Richard work up to 100 hours or more per week.
Before she took the job, Richard was told she would have to work 41.5 hours a week at the most and wouldn't have to do overtime. However, Khobragade didn't give her any days off for the first two months. Even after that, she made her work for half a day on Sundays, though her contract had specified one holiday a week.
4) Khobragade attempted to intimidate Richard by having the police contact her family in India.
After Richard left Khobragade's service, Khobragade called the maid's husband several times to persuade him to disclose where Richard was living. The diplomat even had the Indian police call Richard's husband to obtain the same information.
5) The diplomat took Richard's passport away from her.
Khobragade wouldn't return Richard's passport even though she repeatedly asked for it so she could return to India. Khobragade said that she would get the passport back only after she had served three years with the diplomat. Employers are not allowed to keep an employee's passport under any circumstances.
To read the indictment, click here.
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.