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July 13, 2024 8:38 am

Indian national Nikhil Gupta, accused of plotting to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, extradited to US

Washington, June 17

Indian national Nikhil Gupta, who is accused of being involved in murder-for-hire plot against a Sikh separatist, has been extradited from Czeck Republic to the US, media reports said Sunday.

Gupta, 52, was arrested in the Czeck Republic last year at the request of the US government on charges of being involved in a plot to assassinate Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. He is expected to be produced before a federal court in New York on Monday.

Gupta is currently lodged at the federal Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, where he is listed as an inmate. The Washington Post was the first news outlet to report his extradition.

“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 daily said.

Federal prosecutors allege that Gupta hired a hitman to kill Pannun and paid USD 15,000 in advance. They allege that an unnamed Indian government official was involved in it.

Gupta’s extradition comes ahead of the New Delhi visit of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for the annual ICET dialogue. The issue is expected to be raised by Sullivan before his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

India has denied its involvement in such a case and has instituted an investigation into the allegations.

Gupta through his attorney has denied the charges and has said that 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 … U.S. Agencies” during the initial phase of his detention. She said India and the United States were “going back and forth to blame each other for their foreign policy,” the daily reported.

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