Indian diplomat gets immunity, leaves US

An Indian diplomat at the center of a political firestorm between New Dehli and Washington has left the United States.

Devyani Khobragade was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury in New York on charges that she underpaid her maid and then lied about it on her visa form.

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But even as she faced the indictment, the U.S. government was giving her full diplomatic immunity from the charges, a status that allowed Khobragade to leave the country.

According to media reports, the United States asked India to waive her immunity. India, which has staunchly defended Khobragade’s innocence refused, leading the diplomat to board a plane back to her country.

Khobragade’s exit caps a dramatic row between India and the U.S. that highlighted tensions between the two countries. Her arrest had led to a serious backlash against the U.S. in India, where at one point concrete barriers protecting the U.S. embassy were moved by Indian authorities.

Officials in New York have sought to crack down on employers who underpay domestic workers, and the case against Khobragade was brought by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

The charges alleged that Khobragade underpaid her maid at a level well below the minimum wage.