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Devyani Khobragade seeks extension of indictment deadline

New York: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has requested a court in New York to extend the deadline for charging her in a visa fraud case, saying the pressure of the impending deadline is interfering with
PTI January 07, 2014 11:31 IST
PTI
New York: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has requested a court in New York to extend the deadline for charging her in a visa fraud case, saying the pressure of the impending deadline is interfering with the ability of the parties to have meaningful discussions on the issue.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office is required to file an indictment in the case within 30 days of Khobragade's arrest and the deadline for that is January 13, 2014.

However, in a request submitted late Monday with Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Khobragade's counsel sought postponement of the preliminary hearing date and extension of the indictment deadline by 30 days “to and including February 12, 2014”.

“Significant communications have been had between the prosecution and the defence and amongst other government officials and it is our strong view that the pressure of the impending deadline is counterproductive to continued communications,” Khobragade's counsel Daniel Arshack said in the request.

He later told PTI that Khobragade, 39, is seeking extension of the indictment deadline, adding that a defendant can seek an extension.

“The deadline is designed to protect defendants from prosecutors who might drag out proceedings... In this case however, an indictment would further polarise the litigants. We would like to avoid that,” Arshack said.

The lawyer told the court that he has conferred with the prosecution concerning extending the deadline and has been informed that the prosecution will not seek an extension of the deadline.

“We therefore, wish to inform the court that we waive the 30 day time limit set by the court on December 12, 2013 because we believe that the time limit is interfering with the parties' ability to continue to have meaningful discussions,” Arshack said in his request to the judge