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Deputy consul-general in New York Devyani Khobragade and her father Uttam Khobragade, a 1984-batch IAS officer who retired in 2012, were in the news last over the former’s ownership of a flat in the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society.
Devyani, who already owned a house in the city — which too was allotted under the state government’s 10 per cent quota — applied and acquired another flat at the Adarsh CHS in 2005-06.
While the CBI never probed into Uttam Khobragade’s role, he was made to depose before the state-appointed two-member commission, where he claimed that it was not his or his daughter’s duty to inform the government about the flats owned.
On the arrest of his daughter on visa fraud charges in the US, Uttam Khobragade called it an ugly ploy to attack an Indian woman diplomat with a promising career. “They surreptitiously attacked her, right at the time when her husband was away and she was most vulnerable at her daughter’s school.”
Devyani, 39, who lived in New York for the past one year, got embroiled in the case a few months ago, after her domestic help Sangeeta Richard came to stay with her and work as a full-time maid. “She worked at my daughter’s place for over seven months and went absconding in June. On several occasions, she called up and demanded money. My daughter even paid Richard over US$ 10,000,” alleged Khobragade.
He pointed out to a Delhi High Court order restraining Richard from initiating any action or proceeding against Devyani outside India. Moreover, a local court had already issued a non-bailable warrant against Richard, he claimed.
Richard has alleged that she was taken to the US with the promise that she would be paid US $9.75 per hour for her service. Reportedly, Devyani had prepared and electronically submitted an application for an A-3 visa for Richard, who was to work as a personal employee saying she would be paid a monthly salary of $4,500 per month at an hourly rate of $9.75. But for her work with Devyani between November 2012 and June 2013 for more than 40 hours per week, she was paid around Rs 34,000 per month, or $573.07 at $3.31 per hour.
Khobragade claimed his daughter has always been ready to pay Richard for her service, but it was Richard who did not turn up to claim the amount. “On several occasions, my daughter asked Richard to come