Nikhil Gupta, Accused In 'Plot To Kill' Khalistani Terrorist Pannun, Extradited To United States

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Indian national Nikhil Gupta, accused of participating in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil, has been extradited from the Czech Republic to the United States, according to media reports.

Gupta, 52, was apprehended in the Czech Republic last year following a request from the US government. He faces charges of conspiring to assassinate the founder of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), Pannun, an American citizen, in New York.

Last month, the Czech Constitutional Court dismissed Gupta's petition against his extradition to the US to face these charges.

US federal prosecutors allege that Gupta was acting under the direction of an unnamed Indian government official. However, India has denied any involvement in the case and has launched a high-level investigation into the allegations.

Gupta is currently being held at the federal Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn and is expected to appear before a federal court in New York on Monday.

According to The Washington Post, the first news outlet to report his extradition, Gupta is listed as an inmate at the Brooklyn detention center.

“Gupta, who had been detained in the Czech Republic, arrived in New York over the weekend, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive legal proceedings. Typically, extradited defendants must appear in court within a day of their arrival in the country,” the report said.

Federal prosecutors allege that Gupta hired a hitman to kill Pannun, paying USD 15,000 in advance.

Gupta, through his attorney, has denied the charges, claiming he has been "unfairly charged."

“Gupta's attorney, Rohini Musa, wrote in a petition to the Indian Supreme Court that her client is being unfairly prosecuted, saying there is 'nothing on record to link the petitioner to the massive alleged plot to assassinate the alleged victim',” The Washington Post said.

Musa complained that Gupta received adverse legal advice from a Czech government-appointed attorney“under the undue influence of ... US agencies” during the initial phase of his detention.

She stated that India and the United States were“going back and forth to blame each other for their foreign policy,” according to the daily.

Gupta's extradition comes just before US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's planned visit to New Delhi this week for the annual initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) dialogue with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Pannun holds dual American and Canadian citizenship.

In April 2024, The Washington Post reported that Vikram Yadav, an officer with India's Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), was the official behind the plot. The report also indicated that then R&AW chief Samant Goel had sanctioned the operation.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs, however, dismissed the report, stating it makes“unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations” in claiming that Indian agents were involved in the plot to kill Pannun.

India has publicly announced that a high-level inquiry is examining the evidence shared by the US regarding the alleged plot to kill Pannun.


AsiaNet News

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