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Foreign Ministry Questions Devyani Khobragade’s Integrity in Affidavit in Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: The government has told the Delhi High Court that Devyani Khobragade, an Indian Foreign Service or 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.

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.

Ms Khobragade, on behalf of her daughters, had contended that the government revoked the passports without issuing them a 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, the government has defended its decision to revoke the passports saying Ms 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.