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India-born US prosecutor opens up about scorn over NYC cases against South Asian defendants

  • Prosecutor's Torment-1.jpg

    FILE - In this May 19, 2014 file photo, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a news conference in New York. In America, Bharara has been on the cover of Time magazine and has earned praise for his tough language toward corruption on Wall Street and Main Street and in the hallways of elected officeholders. But his prosecution of an Indian diplomat has drawn scorn in his birthplace, with one commentator even questioning if he took up the case “to serve his white masters.” Bharara has received such criticism for years for his prosecutions of South Asian- and Indian-born Wall Street traders. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (The Associated Press)

  • Prosecutor's Torment-2.jpg

    FILE - In this April 1, 2014 file photo, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, right, speaks while U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara looks on during a news conference in New York. In America, Bharara has been on the cover of Time magazine and has earned praise for his tough language toward corruption on Wall Street and Main Street and in the hallways of elected officeholders. But his prosecution of an Indian diplomat has drawn scorn in his birthplace of India =, with one commentator even questioning if he took up the case “to serve his white masters.” “Presumably, Eric Holder and Barack Obama,” Bharara said to laughter as he called out the names of the attorney general and the president during a recent speech before students graduating from Harvard Law School. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) (The Associated Press)

  • Prosecutor's Torment-3.jpg

    FILE - In this April 1, 2014 file photo, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara participates in a news conference in New York. In America, Bharara has been on the cover of Time magazine and has earned praise for his tough language toward corruption on Wall Street and Main Street and in the hallways of elected officeholders. But his prosecution of an Indian diplomat has drawn scorn in his birthplace of India, with one commentator even questioning if he took up the case “to serve his white masters. Bharara has received such criticism for years for his prosecutions of South Asian- and Indian-born Wall Street traders. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) (The Associated Press)

After years of silence on the issue, a U.S. prosecutor born in India is opening up about scorn he has faced over high-profile cases in New York involving South Asian defendants, particularly that of an Indian diplomat that led one commentator in India to call him an "Uncle Tom."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara described the experience recently in a speech at Harvard Law School. He says one commentator questioned if he took on such cases to "serve his white masters." Bharara quipped his so-called white masters are presumably Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama.

Bharara has received such criticism for years for his prosecutions of South Asian- and Indian-born Wall Street traders. He says the attacks have been painful for him, especially because his parents followed them closely.