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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#MINIMUMWAGE: Indian Diplomat arrested in New York for paying maid $3 an hour

The Indian government has expressed its "shock" after a US diplomat was arrested on alleged visa fraud in New York.

Devyani Khobragade, the Deputy Consul General at the Indian consulate in New York, was arrested as she did the school-run on Thursday morning.

She is accused of paying her Indian housekeeper just $3.13 an hour and making false representations in the woman's visa application.

Khobragade was released on bail and has had her passport confiscated although her lawyer has said she has diplomatic immunity.

Prosecutors in New York however say Khobragade will be taken to court.

United States Attorney Preet Bharara, a campaigning Indian American lawyer, told the New York Daily News: "Foreign nationals brought to the United States to serve as domestic workers are entitled to the same protections against exploitation as those afforded to United States citizens."

"The false statements and fraud were designed to circumvent those protections."

Prosecutors allege that Khobragade falsely signed visa documents for the worker saying that she would be paid $4,500 a month.

Then, when the housekeeper came to the United States, Khobragade told her that she would be making only 30,000 rupees a month - less than $600, according to prosecutors.

If convicted Khobragade faces up to 15 years in jail. 

The Indian government has expressed "shock" at Khobragade's arrest with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh demanding that the charges be dropped.

"You cannot humilitate a mother of two publicly", Singh was quoted as saying.

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