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Was Devyani Khobragade's domestic help a Spy?

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Sangeeta Richard with her husbandBY RSN SINGH

When the senior officer in R&AW Mr Ravinder Singh was spirited away with his family by the Americans, the then National Security Advisor of India had commented that the issue was not that there was a mole but why was he so important to the US establishment. In the instant case the same question becomes relevant, i.e. why Sangeeta Richard, a domestic help of the Deputy Consul General (DCG) Devyani Khobragade, was so important to the Americans that her family was whisked away to the US two days before the criminal treatment meted out to the DCG by the authorities in that country. Was Sangeeta recruited by the US Intelligence Agencies to gain information of Indian diplomatic mission in the US?

The desperation to protect Sangeeta Richard and her family by the US authorities says it all. Such desperation betrays that possibly Sangeeta had been recruited and had been converted into what is called in Intelligence parlance an ‘asset’. Plausibly this asset was discovered and uncovered by the Consul General. It could be this fact that compelled Devyani to seek intervention of Delhi High Court, which issued an interim injunction against Sangeeta, preventing her from taking legal action in the US. Further the Metropolitan Magistrate of the South District Court issued an arrest warrant against her and requested the US government to locate her. The sudden grant of Visa and escape of Sangeeta’s family members to the US implies that the authorities in that country were closely monitoring the situation with regards to its ‘asset’ and its family. This abrupt development may have been engendered by the imminent possibility of the Indian judiciary tightening its noose on the family members of Sangeeta.

It is therefore evident that Sangeeta was not absconding but in the safe-custody of the American authorities. The exposure of such assets, it must be remembered compromises the entire espionage framework of the hostile country. Any price therefore to protect the framework is less.

Devyani, it seems has paid the price.

The entire family could not have been spirited out of India, the manner in which it was done, without engineering some extremely sensational diplomatic incident, which carried both the stamp of morality and the object of provocation.

In any country in the world such incidents involving diplomats is rare of the rarest. Say in India, if a diplomat, at any level, of any country were to be involved in an accident, for instance running over a pedestrian by an automobile the matter would be reported right up the chain, i.e. from constable to SHO to Assistant Commission to Deputy Commission to Commissioner of Police to Home Secretary to Home Minister and finally to the Prime Minister. It is because the factor of ‘diplomatic immunity’ is of overwhelming consideration.

In Devyani’s case, therefore, it was not a matter of ‘law taking its natural course’, but a clear case of deliberate provocation which entailed hand cuffing and stripping her. India has been provoked and outraged, the Americans have tried to gain a moral high-ground and the US intelligence ‘asset’ or ‘assets’ (Sangeeta and her other family members) have gained sympathy and credibility. A perfect script!

The attempt by the US to acquire a high-moral ground is nauseating. The morality part in favour of the Devyani has been more than upheld by the Court’s stance in India. They would not have taken the position they did, if it was a matter only confined to wages. The espionage angle seems to be very strong in the instant case.

Morality and the US diplomacy have always been contradiction in terms, rather antagonistic. If the US was so concerned about the sensitivities and laws of other countries, it would have extradited David Headley to India. If it was so sensitive about disparity in wages, it would not have outsourced the job of call centers to other countries. Indian youth working in these call centers spend sleepless nights to make America move during the day, for pittance.

Moreover the discerning people of India have abundantly understood the consummate skill with which American spin-doctors create agendas for destabilizing a country so that the economic and other strategic agendas could be pursued. It began with a concept called ‘march of democracies’. It then graduated to ‘human rights’. Then many countries like India were told that they were sitting on the mountain of ‘AIDS bomb’. Now the latest in the inventory is a concept called ‘modern slaves’. This theme is being flogged on Western television channels. It seeks to say that 50 percent of India constitutes ‘modern slaves’, who are hostage to the remaining. This is clever device to drive a wedge right through the middle of the Indian population. It is also a propaganda to convey the impression in the world that most countries including India are despotic, cruel and uncivilized.

With regards to slaves, it is another matter that the Father of America, George Washington, bequeathed his property to his wife, which included ‘slaves’.

The purpose of this article is not to delve into the details of the wages angle being justified to outrage the diplomatic and personal sanctity of Devyani. Nevertheless, it would be pertinent to mention that the arrangement and contract between the DCG and the Sangeeta Richard is laudable by any standards, and anybody who questions it is doing so due to motivated considerations.

The US has used this device of Sangeeta Richard to propagate this concept of ‘modern slaves’ and thus cause disaffection in the Indian society. In this bid they are being served by many Indian-Americans, who love to decry their motherland at the slightest behest of their adopted fatherland. Echoing the same ‘modern slaves’ concept but in different tenor, is a newly created political party, known to be receiving huge funding from American entities. Apart from the Maoists, the Church and the jihadis this is a new political US leverage.

This author has taken the opportunity to stick his neck out and proclaim with all the emphasis that Devyani issue is only a veneer to protect a espionage network.

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap)

19 responses to “Was Devyani Khobragade's domestic help a Spy?”

  1. rajni Avatar

    US authorities will risk a diplomatic incident and spirit away the maid’s family. RSN Singh has led his imagination to run wild. He has not pointed out that the DCG abused her own maid by paying her low salaries and used the clout of IAS and IFS lobby for the last few days and the dalit card to paint herself as a victim. She has no problems in having a flat in Adarsh Society but cries foul and wants diplomatic immunity when the tables are turned on her. It is the arrogance that the IAS and IFS feel that they can get away with murder. DCG failed to realise that the arrogance may be tolerated in India but not outside your own turf.

    1. Narendra Avatar

      Her father was not the architect of Adarsh. Even if you were offered you would have applied. You love the Americans so much that you have no qualms in getting your diplomat stripped and her cavities checked. I can bet either you are in US or have your useless children there.. She was contracted for Rs 30000 a month? She demanded three lakh rupees a month. Even the Foreign Secretary does not get half that sum. But I am sure with that kind of money you will be ready to work as Obama’s maid.

      1. rajni Avatar

        The problem is that you equate every thing in Indian rupees. 30,000/- may be a big amount in India but you wont survive in US with that amount. Also, Are you aware of salaries of Indian diplomats in US. ignorance is bliss for your kind. Typical attitude of ostrich mentality.

        1. Ramod Avatar

          When she (the maid) is on an Official Passport only allowed to work for the Diplomat/Embassy and was living with the Diplomat (Including Food) what’s the point of surviving in New York ? She wanted to Party ?
          This lady signed and agreed for a contract of 30,000 Rs and changed her mind after reaching US. That’s crystal clean. We don’t know the reason yet. Whtr it was for a Permanent residence or for Money.

    2. engineer Avatar

      Unfortunately we are missing the point and running wild with our imaginations here. Her background of Adarsh scam or other issues are not a factor here. She is a diplomat of a friendly country and deserves treatment as per her position. has not done something serious like murder or drugs. She underpaid in US and paid the rest in India to the maid’s family.For the perks of this maid,s job,a thousand people will line up to apply–they are too good by Indian conditions. Yes, she probably lied on visa application–but that is no cause for the arrest and cavity search etc. This is a knee jerk action to claim fame by some greedy people.
      There are 10 million illegal immigrants in this country. We all know that many of them are underpaid, some by famous politicians as reported in the media-in any case by farm owners with influence. Has the Govt. done anything to these employers? To me, this is an excuse to take revenge on the family of the diplomat. They were ion politics, and probably collected their share of enemies–some of them created this fiasco, which is destroying the good relations between the friendly countries. The treatment she got is uncalled for and deserves an apology and she should get her passport back to go home. The fact that the maid’s family got U.S. visa quickly 2 days before the incident (Indians wait for years for visa and it is rejected many times) does raise a stink—-collusion at U.S. Govt. level.

    3. Yudhveer singh Avatar
      Yudhveer singh

      30 K is a very handsome amount by any given standards.Naives like you who somehow don’t know a bit as to how Intelligence services work shud not utter this.Wish i could elaborate more on issues like this.

    4. Narendra Avatar

      What has Adarsh got to do with the ill-treatment to an Indian repeat Indian diplomat by the US authorities. Good diversionary the behest of Americans. Has the case been adjudicated? Has the Indian diplomat been found guilty? What is your complex against IAS and IFS. Just because you were not good enough Rajni. You must be a real failure in India that is why like all scum on earth you went to America.When yo disembark at the Delhi airport with Videshi clothes and Indian body you all look so filthy do you realise.

    5. Akash Avatar

      Joke of the year::: Devyani Khobragade received a salary of $4200 per month and she promised to pay her maid servant $4500 per month(ACCORDING TO PREET BHARARA & USA)…

  2. Sudhakar Singh Avatar
    Sudhakar Singh

    If indeed Sangeeta was a nurtured asset, why did the US blow it away?
    True that mimimum wages and slave trade aspects are part of propoganda and means to an end in this case.
    But moving on these are nevertheless real issues alongwith widespread contract labour that India has to take these up domestically with seriousness and urgency.

    1. Paritosh Avatar

      Mr Sudhakar how much salary do you get or what is your income. Do you get three lakh rupees a month. That is the money this maid was demanding. Even the foreign Secretary of India does not get half the sum. The americans do net give one-tenth of that sum to employees in India.I am sure either you or your useless children are in the US that is why you are ranting like this. You people have sold your self-respect for a few dollars. How about using your good offices in effecting extradition of David Headley to India.

  3. Uday Avatar

    #PreetBharara The Maid was actually turned as a spy by the Americans and they promised her a green card.— Uday Sripathi (@UdaySripathi) December 19, 2013

  4. A Kumar Avatar
    A Kumar

    Mr. RSN Singh is bringing the 4th dimension to this case. When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Similar is the suspicion of Sangeeta Richard being a spy. What are the grounds for him to compare the SR case with the RAW officer’s case?

  5. Arvind Mishra Avatar
    Arvind Mishra

    I think it is high time for all diplomats specially all developing nations in particularly from south east Asia to have domestic help in United States, because some of the diplomats from India ,Pakistan and other countries getting less pay then maids in US.
    I am sure that some of the diplomats from P…k..n must be taking money from domestic help to take them to US.
    So IFS must do special course of cleaning ,cooking and other domestic work like foreign language course prior to there first posting abroad….

  6. Deepak Avatar

    Dear reporter,

    Nicely written article. Is anyone asking the following questions?

    1. What kind of background check and clearance process does MEA have for maids? If Sangeetha’s father is employed by US Embassy Staff in India, Sangeetha should not have been cleared.

    2. After Sangeetha went missing in US, subsequently a case against Sangeetha’s immediate family was filed in an Indian court. Why did Indian authorities / courts not think of having their (husband and kid/s) passports surrendered. Was it not obvious that they were a flight risk?

    3. Why did MEA not think of recalling / transferring Devyani out of US, before this episode blew up?

    4. What has Indian government done to have traitors like Ravinder Singh (or Sangeetha) extradited back to India?

    It’s obvious that Indian authorities are sleeping at the switch or being too complacent.


    1. VT Avatar

      How did Indian emigration authorities at the Airport allow Sangeetha’s family escape, despite the court’s order?

      Why is the US not declare Devyannie “Persona Non-grata’ and pack her back to India?

  7. ballam Avatar

    for all the intellectuals who start the blame game read and reflect.
    no doubt sangeeta is of special interest to usa..

  8. Akash Avatar

    Joke of the year::: Devyani Khobragade received a salary of $4200 per month and she promised to pay her maid servant $4500 per month(ACCORDING TO PREET BHARARA & USA)…..

  9. […] had been recruited and converted into what is called in intelligence parlance an ‘asset’,” he writes   in Canary […]

  10. Lila Rajiva Avatar

    “Human trafficking numbers are grossly exaggerated, made up, and revised, according to an Australian academic.
    Anti-trafficking NGO chief was in India, in sensitive areas, liaising with media outlets, connected to Soros/UN
    sustainability program (Agenda 21)just days before Devyani’s arrest.
    She is seen in pictures at the state govt in Andhra, at the anti-trafficking conference in Assam, making speeches on the need for sharing anti-trafficking software between countries. In the context of revelations abotu NSA/Google-Facebook/CIA/Mossad spying on the whole world, it should be a given that this kind of software exchange is a security threat to India.