Devyani Khobragade

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Devyani Khobragade
Native name देवयानी खोब्रागडे
Born Devyani Khobragade
Tarapur, Maharashtra, India[1]
Nationality India
Citizenship India
Occupation Indian Foreign Service Officer
Years active 1999-date
Employer Government of India
Organization Ministry of External Affairs (India)
Spouse(s) Dr. Aakash Singh Rathore
Children 2 daughters
Parent(s) Uttam Khobragade (father)[2]

Devyani Khobragade is an Indian Foreign Service officer. While serving as Indian Deputy Consul General in New York, she made international headlines when she was arrested by US law enforcement for making false statements on a visa application for her housekeeper, whereby paying her maid $3.99 an hour, despite promising her on her visa application to pay the minimum legal wage.[3] Khobragade was arrested after dropping off her daughters at school in Manhattan.[4] She was subjected to a body-cavity search commonly called a "strip search", presented to a judge and released the same day.[5][6] This led to a major diplomatic standoff between India and the United States.

Early life[edit]

Khobragade was born in Tarapur, Maharashtra[7] into a prominent Dalit family from Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.[8][9] She attended Mount Carmel High School in Mumbai. She obtained a degree in medicine from King Edward Memorial Hospital and Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College.[10] While doing an MS in Ophthalmology, Khobragade decided to become a civil servant.[1]


Khobragade joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1999.[8] She has been posted in Germany, Italy and Pakistan.[11] In 2012, she was posted to the Consulate General of India in New York where she worked as Deputy Consul General. She handled women's affairs as well as political and economic issues.[8] On 20 January 2014 she was posted to New Delhi as director of the Development Partnership Administration (DPA), an agency formed in 2013 at the Ministry of External Affairs to handle India's projects overseas.[12] On 6 April 2013 Khobragade told the Indian Panorama newspaper that her "ambition is to have direct impact on a foreign policy for underprivileged women".[1] As a Dalit woman, Khobragade provided her personal perspective on Women's Rights and the Influence of Demographics in India at the Australian Consulate-General in New York on April 2013.[13] Khobragade was selected for the Chevening Rolls-Royce scholarship in 2012.[14]

Khobragade is proficient in English, Hindi, Marathi and German.[14]


Khobragade is married to an American citizen, New York-born Dr. Aakash Singh Rathore, who is research professor at University of Luiss, Rome, Italy. Aakash received a PhD in Political Philosophy (Louvain) and an LLM in Comparative Constitutional Law (Central European University, Budapest)].[15] He is also a wine enthusiast.[16][17][18][19] The couple met during Devyani's first diplomatic posting in Germany.[8] Since Rathore is a foreign national married to an Indian diplomat, he has applied for Indian citizenship which has not yet been granted since he has not completed the required domicile period in India.[20]

The couple have two daughters, ages 7 and 4.[8] Khobragade's father, Uttam, was an officer in the Indian Administrative Service.[8] Devyani's uncle, Dr Ajay M Gondane is also an Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1985 batch.[1]


Undue favours in her postings[edit]

There is a clear finding by the Supreme Court of India that Ms. Devyani Khobragade was given a posting of her choice in the Indian Foreign Service by bending and modifying the specific rules of allocation for the specific year of 1999 where she was ranked lower than a meritorious batch mate of hers Mr. Mahaveer C Singhvi. The finding appears in the judgment of the Supreme Court of India in a case filed by the victim batch mate against the vendetta activities of the Ministry of External Affairs effecting his service in the case of Union of India v Mahaveer C Singhvi. The Supreme Court of India in its Judgment stated "The mode of allotment was amended for the 1999 Batch in such a calculated fashion that Ms. Khobragade, who was at Serial No.7, was given her choice of German over and above the Respondent who was graded at two stages above her."

Adarsh Housing Society scam[edit]

Devyani Khobragade owns a flat in the Adarsh Housing Society,[21] According to an official report, her membership application for this contained inaccurate statements.[22][23][24][24][25]

United States visa fraud[edit]

On 12 December 2013, Devyani Khobragade, India's Deputy Consul General at its diplomatic mission in New York City at that time, was arrested on charges of visa fraud and perjury under Title 28, United States Code, Section 1746.[26] This incident led to a major diplomatic standoff between India and the United States.[27]

On 28 May 2014, Robert D. Blackwill, the former US ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003 and currently a Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) opined that the treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade and the subsequent impact of the incident on US-India relations as giving a "new meaning to the word stupid"[28][29]

On 13 October 2014, Devyani Khobragade spoke out to The Times of India that she was treated like a common criminal and subjected to a cavity search.[30]

Indian Passport Crime[edit]

On March 13, 2014, Indian Express Newspaper published a story where Khobragade was being investigated for her daughters having both Indian and US passports. The Indian constitution forbids dual citizenship.[31]However, she argued that dual citizenship is permitted for minors. There appears to be legal support for her position and that the holder of both foreign and Indian citizenship must renounce the foreign citizenship within six months of turning 18 in order to retain Indian citizenship. It is unclear, however, whether it is legal for minors to hold both a foreign passport and an Indian passport.[32] Due to her unauthorized statements in the media, she was removed from her duties as director in the development partnership division of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and placed on "compulsory wait". This means she has no job, although she retains her post. MEA sources added that the issue of her children's dual citizenship is a serious issue.[33]


  1. ^ a b c d "Meet The Acting Consul General of India in New York". The Indian Panorama. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Father meets Shinde". Zee News. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Roy, Shubhajit (20 January 2014). "India Tires of Diplomatic Rift Over Arrest of Devyani Khobragade". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 Dec 2014. 
  4. ^ "Devyani Khobragade reveals how she 'broke down' after 'stripping and cavity searches' as row between U.S. and India deepens". National Post. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Indian official: Diplomat's arrest in NYC barbaric". Associated Press. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "US admits diplomat Devyani Khobragade strip-searched as India launches reprisals over arrest". Australia Network News. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ Pooja Premchandran (6 April 2013). "Meet The Acting Consul General of India in New York". The Indian Panorama. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Gowen, Annie (20 December 2013). "Who is Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat at the center of the firestorm?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Khobragade, Uttam (13 January 2014). "My daughter's return". NDTV. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Who is Devyani Khobragade?". Times of India. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "10 things about IFS officer Devyani Khobragade: Her family, passion and favourite Hollywood actor". babus of india. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Roy, Shubhajit (20 January 2014). "Devyani likely to head MEA's overseas projects department". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Acting Consul General of India in New York, Dr Devyani Khobragade Holds Conversation on Women's Rights and the Influence of Demographics in India with New York Young Leaders' Program". Australian Consulate-General, New York. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Devyani Khobragade, 2012 Rolls-Royce Scholar, Chevening Rolls-Royce Science and Innovation Leadership Programme". UK Government, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "More skeletons tumble out of Devyani Khobragade's cupboard". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "2014 Sydney International Wine Competition". Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "Devyani case resolution complicated by marriage to US-born 'wine philosopher'". The Times of India. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "The Complete Indian Wine Guide Review". 20 May 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Keith Stewart (5 July 2013). "Sydney International Competition entries open". Winetech. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  20. ^ Roy, Shubhajit (13 March 2014). "Trouble for Devyani Khobragade as govt finds daughters have both US, Indian passports". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade owned flat in Adarsh society". Financial Express. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Shibu Thomas (6 July 2012). "IFS officer admits owning two flats on 'govt land'". Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  23. ^ Sanjay Jog (4 January 2014). "Adarsh scam: How politicians, their kin and officials became members by flouting norms". Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Devyani Khobragade made false statement to get Adarsh flat: Panel". Times of India. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  25. ^ Saikat Datta, Shailesh Gaikwad (21 December 2013). "Did Devyani lie in her assets affidavit to Centre?". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "Who is Devyani Khobragade?". The Times of India. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Rajeev Sharma (17 December 2013). "The US has gone overboard against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade". Firstpost. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "The New Indian Government (Video of Panel Discussion)". Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). 28 May 2014. 
  29. ^ Blackwill, Robert (29 May 2014). "US To Warm Up To India After Prime Minister Modi's Win". Bernama. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  30. ^ Khobragade, Devyani (13 October 2014). "Devyani Khobragade speaks out on her sensational arrest". timesnow. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  31. ^ Shubhajit Roy (March 13, 2014). "Trouble for Devyani Khobragade as govt finds daughters have both US, Indian passports". The Indian Express. 
  32. ^ Cyrus Mehta (2004-12-17). "Dual Citizenship For Children Born In The US To Indian Parents". 
  33. ^ "Devyani Khobragade shunted from MEA for her statements to media". Retrieved 19 December 2014. 

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