17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#DiplomaticSPAT: India orders inquiry into TAX STATUS of Americans in India as diplomatic row escalates

Indian authorities have begun the tax status of American nationals working at international schools in the country as the row over the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York spirals out of control.

Devyani Khobragade, the Deputy consul at the Indian Embassy in New York was arrested as she dropped off her children at school on 12 December and charged with visa fraud and underpayment of her house maid.

She was later subjected to a cavity search whilst in custody, a move that enraged many back in India.

Days later Indian authorities removed the concrete security barriers surrounding the US embassy in Delhi and announced that all American diplomats would be investigated over salaries and employment of Indian domestic servants.

Reuters quoted an Indian minister as saying that spouses and children of American diplomats would "have no more immunity" from offences including "parking".

Ms Khobragade, who has been released on bail, has denied underpaying her maid Sangeeta Richard and has accused Ms Richard of theft and blackmail.

According to documents filed in a New York court, Ms Khobragade wrote on a visa application that the maid would be paid $4,500 (£2,746) a month.

But investigators said she instead paid only $573 per month - less than the New York state minimum wage.

If found guilty, Ms Khobragade faces a maximum sentence 15 years.

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