Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2023

Charges against Nikhil Gupta in US ‘concerning, contrary to govt policy’, says India

New Delhi: India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday expressed its concern over the case filed in a US court against an Indian citizen, Nikhil Gupta, for allegedly plotting to assassinate a Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York.

In so far as Canada is concerned, we have said that they have consistently given space to anti-India extremists

The MEA also said that the case was contrary to the government policy and that a high-level inquiry committee has been set up to look into the matter.

MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the US had shared some inputs with India regarding the nexus between organised criminals, gunrunners, terrorists and other extremists during the discussions on bilateral security cooperation. He said that India took such inputs very seriously and constituted a high-level inquiry committee to examine all the relevant aspects of the issue. He added that necessary follow-up action would be taken based on the findings of the inquiry committee.

Bagchi also said that the case against Gupta, who was allegedly linked to an Indian official, was a matter of concern for India. He said that the nexus between organised crime, trafficking, gunrunning and extremists at an international level was a serious issue for the law enforcement agencies and organisations to consider. He said that India had stated that the case was also contrary to the government policy and that India would be guided by the results of the inquiry committee.

“In so far as Canada is concerned, we have said that they have consistently given space to anti-India extremists and that is actually the heart of the issue. Our diplomatic representatives in Canada have borne the brunt of this. So, we expect the Government of Canada to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We have also seen interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and that is unacceptable,” Bagchi said on the Indian-Canadian rift over killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nikhil Gupta, 52, referred as an associate of CC-1 in the criminal coplaint filed by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, is an Indian national who allegedly conspired with others to assassinate a US citizen in New York City. The US citizen, referred as ‘victim’ is a Sikh separatist leader who advocates for the creation of a separate Sikh-nation called ‘Khalistan’.

However, the Justice Department document did not reveal the identity of the citizen involved in the plot. This comes after a Financial Times report on plan to murder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh separatist leader.

According to the complaint, Gupta is an associate of a senior official in the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB), the country’s domestic intelligence agency. He is accused of being the main contact person for the co-conspirators, who include a Canadian citizen, a Pakistani national, and two US citizens. Gupta allegedly provided them with information, guidance, and financial assistance to carry out the murder plot.

“Czech authorities arrested and detained GUPTA on June 30, 2023, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic,” the report states.

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