Dual passport case: MEA questions Devyani Khobragade's integrity

Jul 21, 2015, 08:39 IST | PTI

New Delhi: Government has told the Delhi High Court that Devyani Khobragade, an IFS officer and former Deputy Consul-General of India in New York, obtained US and Indian passports for her two daughters in violation of law and without informing the External Affairs Ministry, which raises serious questions about her "trustworthiness and integrity".

"Devyani Khobragade's (DK) submission that the US passports were only used for travel to USA does not in any way dilute the gravity and seriousness of her misdemeanours and blatant violations of the Indian Passports Act...

"In case, DK had any difficulty in obtaining US visa for petitioner 1 and 2 (her daughters), she should have brought the matter immediately to her employer, MEA, rather than resorting to dubious acts, which raises serious doubts about her integrity," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said in an affidavit filed before the court.

Devyani Khobragade
Devyani Khobragade. File Pic

MEA also said "DK cannot and should not escape from consequences of her illegal acts."

The affidavit has been filed in response to the court issuing a notice to MEA on Khobragade's daughters' pleas challenging revocation of their Indian passports.

Khobragade, on behalf of her daughters, had contended that the government revoked the passports without issuing them show cause notice or hearing them.

The court had, thereafter, stayed the December 30, 2014 order by which the government had revoked the passports. In its affidavit, government has defended its decision to revoke the passports saying Khobragade obtained Indian diplomatic passports for her daughters by "suppressing material facts" which establishes that she "wilfully and blatantly violated the Indian Passport Act".

"The fact that petitioners 1 and 2 had US passports while having Indian diplomatic passports is clear suppression of material facts that DK did not inform MEA and thereby, she violated provisions of the Passport Act," it said.

Khobragade's arrest when she was India's Deputy Consul-General in New York on December 12, 2013 rpt 2013 on visa fraud charges had triggered a huge row between India and the US.

The government has also told the HC that Khobragade as an IFS officer having 16 years experience "was expected to uphold the Indian Passport Act but has herself wilfully and knowingly violated the provisions of the Act for her own selfish interests, which shows her utter and scant disregard for rules and regulations of Government of India."

Government also said that by her conduct she also violated the Citizenship Act.

The government has also said that it has no issues if Khobragade decides to take the nationality of another country, to which their father belongs, for her two minor children and it would be willing to obtain Indian visas for them as and when they require it for travel to India.

Government also said that the provision of dual citizenship is only applicable to those children who were born outside India and as Khobragade's daughters were born in Mumbai, they are not covered by this provision.

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