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Moneylife » Life » Public Interest » Who is Devyani Khobragade?

Who is Devyani Khobragade?

Moneylife Digital Team | 19/12/2013 04:59 PM | 

Devyani Khobragade claims the value of her properties at Rs1.78 crore plus three tracts of land in her own statement to MEA. A lot of her properties are inherited from or gifted to her by her father, Uttam Khobragade, a controversial former IAS officer

Dr Devyani Khobragade, the officer from Indian Foreign Services (IFS) cadre is at the centre of a diplomatic row between India and the US. In order to ensure full diplomatic immunity post the arrest and release episode in New York, Dr Khobragade was on Wednesday transferred to the Indian permanent mission at UN in New York. While several people know about her father, Uttam Khobragade, a retired officer from Indian Administrative Services (IAS), nothing much is known about Devyani Khobragade. What is interesting are the huge assets in her name, a lot of which was gifted by her father, a controversial officer of the IAS.


According to a statement submitted by Dr Khobragade to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as of 31 March 2012, she owned 11 properties, including flats and land in Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. She declared some of the flats and land as 'inherited' from her father while others were bought by her. As per the declaration, Dr Khobragade earns a salary of Rs50,350 (including grade pay) per month, while generating revenues of Rs2.26 lakh a year from all her immovable properties. The total value of properties, excluding three agriculture land, owned by Dr Khobragade is Rs1.78 crore as per her statement. In short, as of 31 March 2012, Dr Khobragade was earning total revenues, including her salary and income from properties, of Rs8.30 lakh for FY2012 and owned properties of Rs1.78 crore, plus market value of three tracts of land.


However, as per the present market value, her properties may be worth more than Rs6 crore as her 1,000 sq ft in the controversial Adarsh Coop Housing Society (Adarsh CHS) in Mumbai alone is worth about Rs4 crore.


Dr Khobragade stated that she bought the flat in Adarsh CHS for Rs90 lakh by selling a flat in Meera Coop Housing Society at Oshiwara in Mumbai. While this may look good on paper, the reality may be quite different as the property rates between Oshiwara, which is located between Goregaon and Jogeshwari, and Colaba, the prime location of the Adarsh CHS, are way apart. For example, at present a flat in Colaba is priced between Rs39,400 to Rs43,600 per sq ft, while the same in Goregaon costs between Rs14,800 to Rs15,300, per sq ft as per In short, the price difference between a flat in Colaba and Oshiwara is about three times. She did not mention the purchase price or value of her Oshiwara flat in the statement, though.


In 2006, Dr Khobragade purchased a non-agriculture plot measuring 5,000 sq ft at Alibag from Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) that is shows as worth Rs10 lakh in the statement. As a co-incidence, her father was the chief executive (CEO) and vice president of MHADA between 2000-02 and 2004-05. Even this plot is worth over Rs50 lakh as per the current market price.


As per the statement filed by Dr Khobragade, out of her 11 properties, she purchased only four, while rest were either inherited or gifted or transferred by her father over the years. Besides, a flat in Adarsh CHS and plot in Alibag, Dr Khobragade also purchased a flat measuring 500 sq ft at Kanchanwadi in Aurangabad district for Rs7 lakh and a plot of 200 sq metres at Swarna Nagari Greater Noida in Gautam Buddha Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh for Rs20 lakh. According to the statement, she bought the Swarna Nagari plot by selling a house at Gurgaon from Ansal Building. But there is no value attached to her Ansal Building house in the statement.


For three agriculture lands, Dr Khobragade inherited from her father and from which she earns an annual income of Rs70,000, there is no purchase value mentioned. This includes 25-acre land at Gowardhan village in Chandrapur district, 8-acre land at Gawahne village in Ratnagiri district and 2-acre land in Kalamb village in Raigad district.


Dr Khobragade earns highest revenues of Rs1.20 lakh during FY2012 from a flat measuring 800 sq ft at Kondwa in Pune that was purchased by her father in 1995 and as of March 2012 was valued at Rs25 lakh.


Uttam Khobragade also gifted two land parcels measuring 2.02 and 2.7 ares in Ernakulam district of Kerala to his daughter on 20 December 2011. Present value of these two plots is shown as Rs16.35 lakh in the statement submitted by Dr Khobragade to MEA. Mr Khobragade also transferred a plot measuring 3.97 ares (9.805 Cents) in Pallipuram village in Kerala to his daughter's name on 2 January 2009. This is valued at Rs5 lakh.


Here is the statement of immovable property returns of Dr Khobragade as on 31 March 2012…

According to a report from Indian Express, Uttam Khobragade's name had also figured in the Adarsh CHS scam and he was accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of helping the CHS use higher floor space index (FSI) than permitted by allegedly transferring an adjoining plot reserved for a BEST bus depot to Adarsh. “He and Devyani, it was alleged, had got a flat each in the society as quid pro quo. Khobragade, who had denied any wrongdoing in the case, Wednesday said he and Devyani would not return the apartments. Devyani, who already owned a house in Mumbai — which too was allotted under the state government's 10 per cent quota — got the Adarsh flat after she applied for it,” the newspaper said.


Uttam Khobragade, who was the general manager (GM) of Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST), on 15 December 2007 introduced AC buses in Mumbai by labelling them as King Long buses. These so-called King Long buses  that used to cost Rs40 to Rs45 lakh at that time were not even made in China but in our own Mohali and that too by a local manufacturer using few parts from the Chinese company.


According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, the King Long buses, sold to commuters as top-of-the-line Chinese import, were not King Long buses at all. “The purple buses you see breaking down every now and then have nothing to do with the Chinese bus maker Xiamen King Long United Automotive Co, except a mechanical part here and there. The rickety clunkers that have given the usually efficient BEST a bad name are Cerita buses put together by an Indian company JayCee Coach Builders (JCBL) at Lalru, Mohali in Punjab,” the newspaper said.


During the inauguration ceremony on 15 December 2007, both the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Uttam Khobragade, the then GM of BEST referred to these buses as King Long, says Mumbai Mirror. For years Mumbai had been sold the lie of these haphazardly put-together vehicles with a ridiculously high incidence of breakdowns—4,037 in two-and-a-half years for 285 buses—boasting of a Chinese lineage, the newspaper report said.


Khobragade, the then GM of BEST when these AC buses were introduced in services, told the newspaper that since the matter is too old, he can't remember the specifics.

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Parvez Jamasji

Parvez Jamasji 2 years ago

with dalits like the Khobragades i pity the dalits in india. they either learn how Khobragades live or they REMAIN "DALITS" THROUGH OUT THEIR GENERATION AS THEY LIVED IN THE PAST 5000 YEARS !

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sreekumar 2 years ago

request the writer to differentiate between ARE and ACRE....its a huge difference

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Gordon Jacobs

Gordon Jacobs 2 years ago

I was always sure some one would dig the grave deep.

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shadi katyal

shadi katyal 2 years ago

One wonders why we Indians cannot keep our minds on the subject in question but keep changing the issue being discussed.
The Issue here is that Why Devyani married to a foreigners was posted to New York. Why did she commit felony and why GOI knowing the facts did not try to settle before it went to court.
The question is will India childish and prankish removal of safety barriers, cancelling Diplomatic cards and imposition of import restriction will bring any results.
Why accusations of conspiracy and kidnapping etc. show any maturity on MEA officers.
Since she is married to US Citizen and now resident of USA,will she fill joint income tax with her husband and declare her properties in India or hide those???
By posting her India has opened a can of worms.
Can GOI answer why she was passed over other seniors and why the fact her marriage to a foreigner was never brought out.
Is she not a security threat????

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Parvez Jamasji

Parvez Jamasji 2 years ago in reply to shadi katyal


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Prasanna dulipeta

Prasanna dulipeta 2 years ago in reply to shadi katyal

Shadi, you are right again. The need of the hour is to stay focused on this issue rather than generalize issues. The pertinent issue now is why did MEA post her there when she has married an American and why did they move her to New York to grant her complete immunity? Has the Government of India become blind to her illegal activities? While i do agree that it is the duty of our Government to protect its citizens abroad, is it the way to react by withdrawing the id cards and security of American Embassy and its staff? Self respect is above all but decency and understanding is equally essential and has our diplomacy failed in this case? Her backgroud as known from these sources reveal her high connections for the government to have reacted like this. If it wa not she would the reaction be of the same gravity?

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shadi katyal

shadi katyal 2 years ago in reply to Prasanna dulipeta

Mr. Dulipata if you read all what MEA is saying is covering its mistake. GOI has never declared what its policy is about such married officers to foreign nationals and some of the media is unwilling to investigate as they might loose Tender notices etc. One wonders if she is being over protected due to her being a Dalit and influence of her father.
Have we lost all our clear thinking as she was arrested and searched. USA State Department notified Indian Embassy but we dropped the ball. Why was she and her staff not called back.
If she had full immunity as being claimed now why did GOI ask the UN to accept her now and new ID to be issued.
One wonders if MEA is in touch with reality of Diplomatic services? By such childish retaliation we cannot prove our self respect. Are we happy being a laughing stock of the world.
We have tried to cover more than let the people know what is truth and we may never find out.
Did we hear anything about Ms.Gupta who was giving our secrets as pillow talk or who was responsible for issuance of multiple Visa to Headley? Where are the raw emotions of our countrymen in those issues???

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captainjohann 2 years ago in reply to shadi katyal

Why not investigate the posting of present ambassador Mr.Jaishankar whose childrren are having green cards. In fact nobody who have some personal interest in the host country like husbands,wives,children aspiring for citizenship etc must not be posted to that country at all.

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Rajesh Premani null

Rajesh Premani null 2 years ago in reply to shadi katyal

Here,Ms. Shadi I hold the media completely responsible since they have not done their job or maybe they desire to make us believe to serve their agenda. Surprisingly there is not even a passing mention regarding the direction the law would take should Khobragade's husband be of US origin while Khobragade belongs to India. BTW why has she not given up her Indian citizenship now that she's married to an American citizen and also "partially" settled in the US? Would such concessions be offered to her had she not been Uttam Khobragade's daughter? Does the press have something to do with the MEA cover up act? Why is there so much bonhomie between the MEA and the media? Does it have to do with something that the MEA and media don't really want us to know?

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shadi katyal

shadi katyal 2 years ago in reply to Rajesh Premani null

First let me correct that I am not Ms but Mr. No harm
It is well known that she was passed over many seniors who were more eligible than Devyani. Yes her father has played a very important part as we seen on TV.
Media has failed because they are afraid to loose the advertisement revenue and thus follow the master.
This paper is the only one done service to the nation.
She had been married for about 10 years and has children from this marriage and could be the reason of her posting so could be closer to her husband who is an American but has never been mentioned by media. She can settle down in USA but cannot become a citizen as long as case is pending. Statue of Limitation might play some part.
There is much more than meet the eye and since Indian media is unwilling to do any investigation we will never find out even some criticism is being shunned.
I asked simple question does GOI and MEA allopw such posting or even selection to MEA post. When was she selected and did she passed her IFS test before or after marriage???Did she get permission from MEA for such marriage. She has proved to be Cassandra for India.
Why is MEA and GOI protecting her??
What about her flat in Adresh society which she got on false statement???Too many questions???

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Rajesh Premani null

Rajesh Premani null 2 years ago in reply to shadi katyal

Sincere apologies for the addressing you incorrectly, Shadi Sir.

This is exactly the issue and just no one is talking about the perspectives that you and others have so vehemently and succinctly pointed out. Shocking is the fact that although she is married to a US based citizen, the MEA has taken this aspect so lightly and has successfully and cunningly circumvented and polarised her sins and contraventions of law, and instead played a complete cover up game, by blaming the US instead. God alone knows when such kind of nonsense would ever stop.

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Rajesh Premani null

Rajesh Premani null 2 years ago in reply to shadi katyal

Shadi, you are right. We aught to have the focus in the right place. You and our other friends @MoneyLife have made poignant, valuable points that need merit and bulldozes any prospective arguments that could emanate from the MEA, Khobragade's or the MEA. Having hit the nail right where it aught to, it would be hard (if not impossible) for the Govt to answer these questions. The issue is, how do these questions reach those ears who matter! And most importantly, how they can make these issues matter?

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shadi katyal

shadi katyal 2 years ago in reply to Rajesh Premani null

Thank you Rajesh ji.
I agree that how do we get any replies or satisfaction from GOI and MEA as I feel they live in cocoon and feel that whole world revolves around them and thus not responsible, or capable to answer. Our old colonial mentality and bureaucracy is the norm and we have shown our childish policy in this case.
This case could had been solved had the MEA taken action against DEVYANI and called her back for consultations but instead filed a non bail able case against Sangeetha Richard which drove her to NY attorney office and it blew in our face.
Was MEA not aware of her marriage to an American Citizen or was it a post for her to join with him but what about security???
There is much more swept under the carpet and this can of worms must be opened.
We are thankful and congratulate this paper for being honest and bringing this issue to for front but other media has tried to cover it. As a matter of fact TOI yesterday wrote an article full of prejudices and sound like paid add for her. Not a word of her false allotment of flat in Mumbai etc. So unless our Media is honest and free of prejudices we will see more such red herrings.
God help us

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Prasanna dulipeta

Prasanna dulipeta 2 years ago

nothing comes free in this world and one has to sacrifice somewhere to gain something more valuable some where else. We have today to choose between small evil and greater evil. Experience has proved that some are better than the others though we are yet to see the best. However it is too very difficult to satisfy every one especially in public field. There is a saying in Kannada which goes to say that what one does is the best, what one's son does is better and what others do is the worst. However, we can be guiding force while exercising our franchise for better and proven people.

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