May 17, 2021
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Khobragade Gate: The Plot Thickens

Khobragade Gate: The Plot Thickens

First we learnt that the "husband and child" [of the domestic assistant Sangeeta Richard] in India were taken into custody" when she went to an immigration attorney's firm in NY and Richard demanded a sum as her wages and an ordinary Indian passport.

Now we learn that the family of Sangeeta Richard was granted visa by the US embassy despite India being in touch with Americans since her disappearance and cancellation of her official passport in June. The family— Sangeeta's husband Philip and two children—left for New York on December 10, just two days before Khobragade was arrested.

In another twist, Sangeeta's father-in-law is believed to be working in the US Embassy in New Delhi, and sources said her mother-in-law was also known to the American government as she had worked with a senior diplomat of the US Embassy.

Besides these, Sangeeta's husband Philip, a driver with Mozambique Embassy here, was given visa to travel to the US easily and quickly.

Indian government is wondering whether all the requirements for grant of visa to him were fulfilled, particularly those related to adequate salary and financial deposits in his bank account.

Philip was given a T-visa, which allows certain victims of human trafficking and immediate family members to remain and work temporarily in the United States if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against the perpetrators.

Officials in the government here wonder the husband's exit from India was facilitated deliberately before Khobragade's arrest to make him unreachable to the Indian authorities.

In another twist to the tale, Richard’s husband had filed a case in July demanding the Government locate his wife but he withdrew the petition later. 

Given the "odd" timing of the departure of the family of the maid and arrest of Indian diplomat, there is a feeling that there were three rings of "charade" as Americans facilitated a visa fraud even after being told by India that there was a risk of illegal immigration by Sangeeta and her family.

Meanwhile, there has been much speculation about the vast land-holdings of the Indian diplomat, as freely available on the MEA website.

Some reactions on Twitter:

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