Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#DiplomaticSPAT: US judge refuses Khobragade plea for delay in visa fraud case

A US federal judge has denied a request by Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade for a postponement of the hearing into a visa fraud cause that has led to a furious diplomatic row between India and the US.

Judge Sarah Netburn on Wednesday refused to extend the deadline of 13 January for the indictment of the diplomat who is accused of making false statements on a visa application and underpaying her house maid.

In December Indian vice-consul was arrested as she dropped off her children to school, sparking outrage in India.

The row has led to the Indian government announcing investigations into the tax status of US diplomats in India as well as domestic workers employed by US embassy workers in Delhi.

American expatriates in the Indian capital have also been barred from using a popular social club inside the US embassy grounds in Delhi whilst the concrete blast walls around the embassy compound have been taken down by Delhi police.

The US has termed the retaliatory measures "petty" insisting that Ms Khobragade has broken the law and will not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Also on Wednesday US Secretary of State John Kerry met with President Barack Obama to discuss the issue.

There are also unconfirmed reports that US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz's visit to India next week may not go ahead.
Ms Khobragade has denied all the charges and has been released on bail.

After her arrest, Ms Khobragade was transferred to India's permanent mission to the UN and has applied for full diplomatic immunity.

The US is still reviewing the application, reports say.



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