TNN, Washington : Any expectation that New Delhi and Washington would tide over and quickly heal from the so-called Khobragade episode involving immunity relating to an Indian diplomat’s alleged criminal infractions are being laid to rest. The two sides are in for a long, ugly, bruising battle, some of it already being played out in a New York courtroom. The State Department last week legally backed the insistence of its law-enforcement brigade that Devyani Khobragade did not enjoy diplomatic immunity at the time of her arrest, and therefore US authorities were not wrong in arresting and detaining her. More to the point, Washington’s legal interpretation gave a green light to US Attorney Preet Bharara to continue pursuing the case, with the observation that Khobragade does not presently enjoy immunity from prosecution for the crimes charged in the indictment. “The Department of State concludes that Devyani did not enjoy immunity from arrest or detention at the time of her arrest in this case, and she does not presently enjoy immunity from prosecution for the crimes charged in the indictment,” the January 29 declaration signed by Attorney-Advisor in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the Department of State Stephen Kerr said. Bharara’s office promptly submitted the declaration to the court as part of eight supporting documents aimed at showing that Devyani is not immune from prosecution and that the indictment against her should not be dismissed. The motion came in response to a request made by Devyani’s lawyer Daniel Arshack on January 14 that asked the court to dismiss the indictment and terminate any “open” arrest warrants or requests for her extradition. Arshack now has time till February 7 to file his reply to the government’s motion. “The US Attorney is again wrong on the facts and the law. The court will decide these issues.” Arshack said, soon after Bharara’s deputies Kristy Greenberg and Amanda Kramer filed a 22-page memorandum on Friday. While some diplomats maintained that the to-and-fro was part of the legal skirmish that was only to be expected, others saw dark forebodings over the State Department’s legal sanction to proceed with the case despite efforts to defuse the situation on the diplomatic front.