Well, that didn't take long. US Attorney Preet Bharara is really cementing his aggressive DGAF reputation here — you might get the indictment dismissed on a Wednesday, but he'll just have a grand jury whip up another before close of business on Friday. If he was getting any pressure to let things slide for the sake of bilateral relations, coming back so quickly sends a message that he's not letting this one go. The charges are one count of felony visa fraud and misdemeanor making false statements, and he also reissued the warrant for her arrest.
For its part, the Indian government's been producing a steady stream of veiled and open threats, and earlier in the week, Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack said that a new indictment "might be viewed an aggressive act and one that they would be ill-advised to pursue." He declined to comment after the new one dropped, saying only that "The government of India will respond in due course." Here's the statement from the Ministry of India:
We are disappointed that the relevant office of the United States Department of Justice chose to obtain a second indictment against an IFS officer, Dr Devyani Khobragade, despite the fact that the first indictment and arrest warrant were dismissed earlier this week.
This was an unnecessary step. Any measures consequent to this decision in the US, will unfortunately impact upon efforts on both sides to build the India-US strategic partnership, to which both sides are committed.
As far as India is concerned, we reiterate that the case has no merit. Therefore this second indictment has no impact on our stated position.
Now that Dr Khobragade has returned to India, the Court in the United States has no jurisdiction in India over her. Government will therefore no longer engage on this case in the United States' legal system.
Since they won't be wasting their money in Federal court anymore, they have about three options for expressing their displeasure, besides continuing to shut down the bar and swimming pool at the US embassy.
1. All major Indo-US engagements are likely to be put on the back burner. No fresh deals, in defence or civilian nuclear cooperation or in any other field, are likely to be pushed, leave alone being inked.
2. India is likely to initiate the next phase of action against the American diplomats and other staff whose financial dealings are at an advanced stage of probe by the Central Board of Direct Taxes and other Indian agencies.
3. It is likely to deal sternly with American diplomats in the event of the slightest of violation of Indian laws, even if it is a small incident of traffic signal jumping, though the American embassy has already sensitized its staff to such a scenario.
Meanwhile, Khobragade's career is totally secure, and they'll probably reward her with a promotion and a plum assignment.