Sangeeta Richard, the maid to Indian official Devyani Khobragade, was paid far more than minimum wage, Khobragade’s father says.
Speaking to DNA India, Uttam Khobragade said that she was paid a regular monthly salary, plus extra money “whenever she required.”
“This is nothing but harassment. When Sangeeta started demanding more and more money, we registered a complaint against her in Delhi. The metropolitan magistrate court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Sangeeta. We are shocked that Devyani was arrested for no fault of hers and that too when she has diplomatic immunity,” Khobragade said.
The case of Devyani getting arrested in New York City has sparked furor in India, especially after it was alleged that she was strip searched.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara sought to clarify what actually happened, saying that Devyani was not arrested in front of her child, and was not strip searched.
Bharara says the arrest came after officials found that Devyani allegedly gave the maid two different contracts: one with a wage of around $4000 a month, which the employee was to provide with her US visa application, and another, the one that Khobragade allegedly told the woman would be her actual wage, which was around $570 a month.
But Devyani’s father said that the high court in Delhi issued an interim injunction in September, saying that Richard couldn’t take any legal action against Devyani outside of India.
Some Indian media outlets have suggested the arrest was a ploy to let Richard stay longer in the United States.
And sources told the Daily Mail that Richard was previously employed by a senior US diplomat, adding another wrinkle to the story.
Richard went missing on June 23, with her husband saying that he had no idea where she went. The disappearance came shortly after Devyani denied her request to take a part-time job on the side.
Richard’s husband Sangeeta refused to file a missing person’s report because he sensed something was wrong.
Devyani sent a letter to the NYPD asking for a missing persons report, which was filed.
After a series of other events, India asked the U.S. to arrest Devyani and send her to India for prosecution, but the U.S. never responded.
Devyani is now being tried in Manhattan.