India probes possible US tax violations
New Delhi has requested details about American staff working in India for possible tax violations, as part of a reciprocal measure in retaliation against the arrest and mistreatment of an Indian diplomat in New York.
An Indian government official said on Friday that the US Embassy must provide details about people working in American schools and other US government facilities to determine if they had permission to do so and if they were paying taxes that are mandatory under Indian law.
Diplomats’ spouses who take up work in schools or other embassy facilities are supposed to inform the host country, the official speaking on condition of anonymity added.
On December 12, New York police arrested and strip-searched Devyani Khobragade, a member of India’s diplomatic mission over charges of visa fraud and underpaying her housekeeper.
Her maltreatment caused anger in India and sparked series of reprisals, including the removal of protective barricades outside the US Embassy in New Delhi.
The Indian diplomat was later released on a USD 250,000 bail. She has now been accredited to India’s UN mission, following the official request from New Delhi.
On Tuesday, the Indian Foreign Ministry ordered the withdrawal of all special identity (ID) cards provided to US diplomats stationed in the US consulates in the country as well as their family members.
The ministry also downgraded the immunity they enjoyed by issuing new ID cards specifying restricted immunity, protecting them no more from serious offences.
The new cards issued to American diplomats are similar to the ones provided to Indian consular officials in the US.