- The Washington Times - Friday, December 13, 2013

A top diplomat who works at the India consulate in New York City and is known as a fierce defender of women’s rights was busted by federal agents for allegedly paying her nanny a wage that’s well-below the lawful minimum.

Devyani Khobragad, 39, works as deputy counsel general for political, economic, commercial and women’s affairs for the consulate. But she was apprehended on Thursday for submitting false records to the U.S. State Department about her female nanny’s pay — saying she received $4,500 a month instead of the real figure of $573, The New York Post reported. That $573 per month pay translates into an hourly wage of $3.31.

Ms. Khobragad was charged with one count of visa fraud and another of making false statements, and could face 15 years in jail, The New York Post reported. She pleaded not guilty and was released on $250,000 bond.

Specially, the diplomat was accused of telling the woman she hired in November 2012 to serve as both babysitter and housekeeper to lie on her visa application about her pay, The New York Post said.

“This type of fraud on the United States and exploitation of an individual will not be tolerated,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, The New York Post said.

The accusations are made worse by the fact that the diplomat has stated in the past her full regard for women’s rights, telling a weekly Manhattan-based newspaper in April that she’s a strong advocate for “underprivileged” women.