NEW DELHI - The father of an Indian diplomat who was arrested in New York City on visa fraud charges said Tuesday that his daughter's treatment in the U.S. was "barbaric," in a case that threatens to transform into a serious diplomatic dispute between the countries.
Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, was charged last week with making false statements and visa fraud. Prosecutors in New York say that Khobragade claimed she paid her Indian maid $4,500 per month but that she actually paid her below the minimum wage.
Her father, Uttam Khobragade, told the TimesNow TV news channel Tuesday that his daughter is not a criminal and that her treatment was "barbaric." He spoke after Indian media reports said his daughter had been strip-searched and kept with drug addicts after her arrest.
The Indian government reacted to the news of Khobragade's arrest with outrage and said it was "shocked and appalled at the manner in which the diplomat had been humiliated" in the U.S.
The 39-year-old diplomat was arrested Thursday while dropping her daughter off at school. She pleaded not guilty and was freed on $250,000 bail.
Khobragade's lawyer told a magistrate judge last week that his client would challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity.
Indian officials said the government was considering the next steps it will take to quickly resolve the matter.