"When immunity is conferred, it does not retroactively take effect at a previous point in time but relates solely to the diplomat's current status," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Friday.

"So, I think some of the confusion here has been if there is a change in status, does that mean that there is a clean slate from past charges. There's not," Paski said.

"For anyone, it would apply for the length of time that they have that diplomatic status," she said.

"Receiving diplomatic immunity does not nullify any previously existing criminal charges. Those remain on the books. Nor does obtaining diplomatic immunity protect the diplomat from prosecution indefinitely. It relates to the status of a diplomat's current status for the length of the time of that status," Psaki said.

Diplomatic immunity means, among other things, that a foreign diplomat is not subject to criminal jurisdiction in the United States for the time they are a diplomat, for the time they have that immunity, she said.

After her arrest on visa fraud charges in New York last week, Khobragade, 39, was transferred this week from the Indian consulate to its Permanent Mission at UN.

Psaki also said that the US is yet to get an official request "through the proper channels for accreditation" and hinted the full diplomatic immunity would remain till the time she is posted at UN.

Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was arrested and then handed over to US Marshals Service (USMS).  Khobragade was taken into custody before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

The ill-treatment of its diplomat evoked a sharp reaction from India which initiated a slew of steps to downgrade the privileges enjoyed by US diplomats and their families.

India also asked US to drop all charges against Khobragade and tender an apology for mistreatment. Khobragade, if convicted, could face a maximum sentence of ten years for visa fraud and five years for making a false declaration.

Processing request to accredit Devyani to Permanent Mission: UN
    
Meanwhile, United Nations said it has received official notification from India to register Khobragade as a member of the country's Permanent Mission here and the request will be processed according to the "standard procedures".
    
"United Nations has received notification to register Devyani Khobragade as a member of the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations. The United Nations is processing this request per its standard procedures," Acting Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq said.
   
India had said it transferred Khobragade, the deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate here, from the Consulate in the city to its Permanent Mission at UN to give her full diplomatic immunity.

JPN/Agencies

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