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Devyani father threatens to fast

Mumbai, Dec. 19: Devyani Khobragade’s father, a retired IAS officer, today threatened a hunger strike if the US could not be persuaded to drop the case against his daughter.

Echoing Indian politicians, Uttam Khobragade alleged a conspiracy behind Devyani’s arrest in New York and construed a statement by the US Attorney behind the move as an attack on the Indian judiciary.

Khobragade was speaking to reporters here after returning from New Delhi, where he had met Union home minister Sushil Shinde among others.

He said the regret expressed by the US authorities was not enough, and that America must drop the case. “An apology is not enough. It is a false FIR,” Khobragade said.

Asked what he would do now, Khobragade said: “I will try to meet Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister. I am even trying to meet the President. If nothing works, I will fight and fast unto death.”

He alleged a “conspiracy” behind the family of Sangeeta Richard, the nanny whom the US authorities have accused Devyani of underpaying, being allowed to enter America and the subsequent arrest of his daughter.

Khobragade slammed US Attorney Preet Bharara for saying that a legal process had been started in India to “silence her (Richard) and attempts were made to compel her to return to India”.

Khobragade said the Supreme Court of India should take cognisance of Bharara’s statement. “Please take cognisance of Bharara’s utterance that the Indian legal process is meant to silence the maid,” he said.

“That means Indian courts are not here to give justice but to silence the victim. It is a blatant attack on the Indian judiciary. This is criminal contempt. It is an attack on our sovereignty.”

Asked what motive the US authorities could have in arresting Devyani, Khobragade said: “The motive is to terrorise us, for not letting them interfere in our internal matters. If at all there is a problem, it is of Indian jurisdiction. No one is arrested in this manner, and the treatment thereafter clearly shows that it was to terrorise us.”