SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 20, 2013

Lawyer: Indian housekeeper did not extort money

NEW YORK — The Indian housekeeper worked from morning until late at night, seven days week, for less than $3 an hour taking care of the two children of a diplomat. Unable to get a better deal, she made sure the children were cared for one day and walked out, her lawyer said yesterday.

From that moment on, Sangeeta Richard relied on the kindness of strangers within the Indian community in New York City, and even was cared for at one point by a Sikh temple. She eventually connected with the nonprofit Safe Horizon, which has an anti-trafficking program.

“She was basically just trying to find her way. She was left with the clothes on her back, with very little money,” attorney Dana Sussman said.

The housekeeper and her Safe Horizon attorney, Dana Sussman, eventually went to the State Department with the allegations. Her employer, Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, was arrested last week and accused of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for Richard. According to prosecutors, Khobragade claimed she paid the woman $4,500 a month but actually paid her around $3 per hour.

Richard’s and Khobragade’s accounts of the events that led to the diplomat’s arrest and touched off a diplomatic furor between the United States and India differ greatly.

The diplomat and Indian officials say Khobragade is the victim who was being blackmailed by her maid and was mistreated by authorities in the United States.

The case has chilled U.S.-Indian relations, and India has revoked privileges for U.S. diplomats in protest. India revoked diplomat ID cards that brought certain privileges as retaliation, demanding to know the salaries paid to Indian staff in U.S. Embassy households, and withdrawing import licenses that allowed the commissary at the U.S. Embassy to import alcohol and food.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140730_SN_DLE_DEMOLITION5 Demolition of Salem Harbor Station begins

    SALEM -- It all begins with B5. Or ends, depending on how you look at it. Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station Wednesday afternoon, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant's 11 steel tanks. The work was supposed to begin Monday, but

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Market Basket seeks replacement workers through job fair next week

    Market Basket began advertising a job fair for store managers and assistant managers in a direct shot at the current managers who signed petitions Monday threatening to resign if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not rehired. The ad, which will appear

    July 31, 2014 2 Stories

  • Mary Manning Recovering Salem principal says thanks

    SALEM -- Just about a month before she was set to retire after 25 years as the principal of Collins Middle School, Mary Manning entered the hospital with a life-threatening condition. She hasn't been home since. A month later, in June, friends and co

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Former school janitor Robert Scribner sentenced for assaults in truck

    SALEM -- A now-former Marblehead school janitor was ordered to serve a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill his estranged girlfriend after trapping her in his pickup truck in May. Robert Scr

    July 31, 2014

  • Danvers selectmen to pick town manager screening committee DANVERS -- It's a who's who of Danvers. So far, 19 residents, including human resources professionals, former selectmen, and present members of boards and committees, have submitted letters of interest to serve on a screening committee that will pick

    July 31, 2014