Indian media: End of diplomatic row with US over Devyani Khobragade?

Devyani Khobragade was handcuffed and strip-searched in New York Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Devyani Khobragade was handcuffed and strip-searched in New York

The diplomatic immunity given to India's deputy consul general in the US is likely to put an end to the month-long diplomatic row between Washington and Delhi, papers say.

Devyani Khobragade was formally indicted by a US grand jury on Thursday over charges of visa fraud and of underpaying her housekeeper in New York.

Prosecutors said she had also been granted immunity and that US officials had asked her to leave the country. Indian officials said she was on her way back.

Ms Khobragade was arrested and strip-searched last month and her alleged "humiliation" had sparked a series of reprisals from Delhi amid strong public anger.

But papers feel her return to India will help normalise the "strained" bilateral ties between Washington and Delhi.

"This should hopefully bring an end to a crisis in relations between India and the US, starting 12 December, when Khobragade was arrested in New York, and strip-searched," says the Hindustan Times in a report.

The India Today magazine feels her homecoming "could be seen as a resolution of the diplomatic row".

Papers add that Ms Khobragade may have been indicted in the US, but her diplomatic immunity is likely to protect Delhi-Washington ties from deteriorating further.

"The United States and India put a lid on a torrid month-long diplomatic fiasco, agreeing on Thursday to remove the controversial diplomat from New York," says The Times of India.

The daily also highlights the fact that the issue is far from resolved because the diplomat's family is still in the US.

"Ms Khobragade is married to a New York-born Indian-American who is a US citizen. The couple has two school-going children and the eventual settlement has to take into account ways to keep the family together," it adds.

Meanwhile, a new helpline to assist people deal with demands for bribes from government workers in Delhi has received extensive praise.

The one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), or Common Man's Party, made an impressive debut in the recent Delhi assembly elections and formed a government with a promise to put an end to corruption.

"A day after it was launched, the new anti-corruption helpline number has the people of Delhi hoping that incidents of corruption faced by the common man will come down drastically," says the First Post website.

Concern for homeless

Staying with national news, a local court in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has convicted the family of Ramalinga Raju, the founder of software services giant Satyam Computers, for tax evasion, The Deccan Chronicle reports.

"We served notices to them [Mr Raju's wife Nandini and her sons], and filed a prosecution complaint in the court in 2011… Though they had sufficient means to pay the tax, they deliberately did not pay," the report quotes A Ramakrishna Reddy, public prosecutor for the income-tax department, as saying.

A new company, Mahindra Satyam, was created after Tech Mahindra bought a major stake in Satyam Computers, the firm [formerly headed by Mr Raju] involved in one of India's biggest accounting frauds. Mr Raju is currently out on bail.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has decided not to go ahead with the proposed tie-up with Google for voter facilitation services ahead of the general elections.

Various parties, including the Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, had expressed concerns that the tie-up may pose a threat to India's national security, The Economic Times reports.

And finally, the Delhi High Court has criticised the state government for not having a policy for the homeless, The Times of India reports.

"They [Delhi government] are directed to file an affidavit indicating the policy of the state regarding permanent facilities which they are going to create for the homeless people," the report quotes the court as saying.

The court was "disturbed to learn about two recent deaths of homeless people in the capital", it adds.

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