Ramanchandra Malekar, the native of India who nearly was deported last year after serving a prison term in the beating death of the woman who employed him as a house a servant in Potomac, is on the way to becoming a U.S. citizen.
A hearing examiner for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service here has approimmigration and Naturalization Service here has approved Malekar's request for a green card, the INS authorization naming him a permanent alien resident.
Since he now is married to an American citizen, the approval of Malekar's status change means he can become a citizen himself in another three years, according to the INS.
Malekar was incarcerated in 1974 following conviction for manslaughter and assault and battery in the death of Lalita Khambdakone, the Indian woman who had brought him to this country as her servant. He spoke no English at the time but learned the language on a work-relief program at the Fountain Head Country Club in Hagerstown, Md.
His immigration visa expired in 1975, so, when his jail term ended in February 1978, he was anticiipating deportion back to India. Then his supporters in Western Maryland, including the staff and members of the country club, who thought Malekar had rehabilitated himself, obtained a last-minute pardon for him from Acting Gov. Blair Lee Iii.
The next day Malekar married Rosie Wolff, a woman who worked in the kitchen at the country club. She asked INS to change his status so he could legally remain in the country and eventually become a citizen.
Larry J. Weining, the hearing examiner who talked with Maleklast week, said the one-year wait for the status change was "not unusual" because Malekar's case was "pretty involved." Once he found a 20-year-old opinion from the Board of Immigration Appeals saying a pardon "is as though the crime never existed," Weining said he approved the status change without consulting higher immigration authorities