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Curious case of theft

Dec. 21: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s husband had accused housekeeper Sangeeta Richard of theft but failed to list the missing items and respond to a follow-up call, Reuters quoted New York police as saying.

On July 8, two weeks after Sangeeta left the New York home of the Indian diplomat, Aakash Singh, Devyani’s philosophy professor husband, had arrived at the 17th Precinct. Singh was out of town between late June and July 8.

But New York police and Devyani’s attorney Daniel Arshack offer different accounts.

The police said Singh reported that Sangeeta had stolen property from his home and asked to file a grand larceny complaint against her but could not identify the missing items.

An officer sent him home to get a list of the missing items and their monetary value, explaining that grand larceny complaints require itemised documentation of at least $1,000 worth of property.

The police said Singh never returned and did not respond to a follow-up call.

Arshack, Devyani’s attorney, has challenged this account, saying Singh did provide the police with a list of the items on July 8. Arshack said Singh is not overly familiar with US laws, denied using the term grand larceny and thought he was simply reporting a theft to the police.

Arshack said when a detective asked him whether he wanted to press charges, Singh became reluctant and decided he would first speak with consular officials and return to the precinct later.

The attorney concurred with the police that Singh left without completing a theft report and failed to respond to a follow-up attempt.

The same day, Devyani met Sangeeta at a session the nanny initiated through Access Immigration, an assistance organisation. The meeting grew so contentious that Access called the police to escort Sangeeta out. Access is no longer working on the case.

An unidentified organisation then contacted Safe Horizon that fights trafficking, through which the issue reached the state and the justice departments and a criminal investigation was launched.

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