"We take these allegations very seriously. We're not in any way walking back from those allegations or the charges. Again, this is really a law enforcement issue," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said. (Agencies)
"No," she said when asked if Khobragade would go "scott free" and US courts would be asked to drop the charges.
Refuting that charges against the diplomat could be dropped, she said: "I don't know the details of the complaint, and I don't know if even withdrawing the complaint, which I'm not saying anybody is considering would, in fact, drop the charge. That's not something that's even being considered."
"We certainly take these types of allegations very seriously though. It's not a decision for us whether to prosecute or not," she added.
Harf said that US informs annually every country having diplomats there through diplomatic notes about ‘obligations they have for their staffs when they bring them to United States’.
"We make those obligations very clear and we take any allegations that they haven't done so very seriously. So certainly, there's no discussion like that going on. We just want the process to move forward," she added.
She refused to distance the State Department from alleged highly rhetorical statement of Preet Bharara, US prosecutor handling the case, as was being reported from India.
The report came following the telephonic conversation between Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and India's Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.
NO PLANS TO CALL KHURSHID
Contradicting Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's statement, Harf said no telephonic conversations between him and John Kerry was planned and nothing is scheduled as of now.
“No plans (for Kerry) to (call Khurshid)," she said in response to a question.
"I mean, he (Kerry) is always open to, but I think there was some misreporting out there today that he maybe…….. and that's just not the case," she said.
Kerry had earlier called National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and expressed regret over the alleged mistreatment of Khobragade. The Indian diplomat was allegedly strip search after her arrest on visa fraud charges.
“That's a consistent message we are conveying diplomatically through proper diplomatic channels to the Government of India," she said.
INDIA'S ALLEGATIONS HIGHLY INACCURATE
Harf called India’s allegations that United States did not respond to the series of letters and communications that were made by it as ‘highly inaccurate’.
"It's highly inaccurate to say that we ignored any Government of India communiques on this issue, period," she said, but refused to divulge the details citing legal nature of the case.
"We're still compiling a precise sequence of all of our government-to-government communications on it – goes back months. Some of these communications are private diplomatic conversations or law enforcement sensitive," she said.
"But I would say that we have engaged in extensive conversations with the Government of India about this issue in Washington, in New York, in New Delhi, going back to the summer," she said.
"We've also requested the Government of India to provide us with the results of its own inquiry into the allegations made by Dr Khobragade's domestic worker and to make her available to discuss them, I don't think either of which was done," she alleged.
Harf said US is yet to receive any request from Government of India with regard to Khobragade’s transfer to India's Permanent Mission to the UN.
Defending the US Government's decision to provide visa to the immediate family members of the missing Indian maid, she said it was part of the effort to unite the family.
"Without going into specifics about some of those details, US Government has taken steps to reunite the alleged victim with her family. Obviously, I’m not going to go into specifics about that," she said.
"We are aware of the existence of allegations that the family was intimidated in India. Obviously, I can’t confirm those. But in general, we take those kinds of allegations very seriously,” she argued.
Khobragade was arrested on December 12 on visa fraud charges by the State Department's diplomatic security bureau, and then handed over to the US Marshals Service (USMS).
The 1999-batch IFS officer was taken into custody as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.
The ill-treatment of the its diplomat evoked a sharp reaction from India which initiated a slew of steps to downgrade the privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats and their families including withdrawing airport passes and stopping import clearances.
"We take these allegations very seriously. We're not in any way walking back from those allegations or the charges. Again, this is really a law enforcement issue," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.