Sheriff of Wall Street hunts down law breakers

Sheriff of Wall Street hunts down law breakers

Ever since he read Inherit the Wind - a play about a teacher on trial for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution - when he was in seventh grade, Mr Preet Bharara knew he wanted to be a lawyer.

Today, at age 44, he is one - but not just any lawyer. As the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York - a title given to the chief federal prosecutor in each of the 94 districts - he has taken down terrorists, drug traffickers and at least 75 insider traders since his appointment in 2009.

That record has earned him a nickname: The Sheriff of Wall Street.

Mr Bharara is also most recently responsible for the headline- grabbing arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who allegedly submitted false documents to obtain a work visa for her helper. She is said to have paid a maid "far below minimum wage" and made her work more than the contracted 40 hours a week.

The arrest, which resulted in a full body search of Dr Khobragade, caused heightened diplomatic tension between the US and India. New Delhi has demanded that all charges be dropped against the diplomat, who was India's deputy consul-general in New York.

Last Wednesday, Mr Bharara outlined the facts of the ongoing case, questioning why there was "so much outrage about the alleged treatment" of Dr Khobragade, but "precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse".

He also stated, in no uncertain terms, that the role of his office is to "uphold the rule of law, protect victims, and hold accountable anyone who breaks the law - no matter what their societal status and no matter how powerful, rich or connected they are".

Bringing down the rich and powerful is something Mr Bharara is familiar with.

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