India responds after US charges Indian man in plot to kill Pannun: What you need to know

Sweta Gupta
Sweta GuptaNov 30, 2023 | 15:53

India responds after US charges Indian man in plot to kill Pannun: What you need to know

The indictment revealed that an Indian government employee (CC-1) recruited Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman for the assassination plot of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. (Photo Credits: AFP)

The US Justice Department on Wednesday (November 29) named Nikhil Gupta, a 52-year-old Indian operating from India, as the individual behind a thwarted plan to kill a Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is an American citizen.

Federal prosecutors have charged Gupta in connection with his involvement in the foiled assassination plot on American soil.


The United States claimed that Nikhil Gupta collaborated with an Indian government worker referred to as "CC-1."

  • This individual, operating in India and other locations, allegedly orchestrated a plot to assassinate a "political activist" on American soil.
  • The targeted individual is a US citizen of Indian origin living in New York City.
  • As per the US, this 52-year-old Indian citizen planned to assassinate Khalistani terrorist, likely Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
  • Gupta was apprehended by Czech authorities on June 30, following the extradition agreement between the US and the Czech Republic.
  • The charges include 'murder-for-hire.'
  • Though the citizen's name was not mentioned, it was a supposed plot against Pannun holding dual citizenship in the United States and Canada.

"The defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a US citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs," stated Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, as per Reuters.


India responds

India responded to this US indictment, emphasizing that it does not align with government policy. The Ministry of External Affairs expressed concern about the indictment, stating that it contradicts the government's stance.

"The nexus between organised crime, trafficking, gunrunning and extremists at an international level is a serious issue for the law enforcement agencies and organisations to consider, and it is for that reason that a high-level inquiry committee has been constituted, and we will be guided by its results," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said on Thursday (November 30)


Additional details

The US Justice Department released information about 52-year-old Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national arrested by Czech authorities on June 30.

  • An unnamed Indian government employee, referred to as CC-1, collaborated with others, including Gupta, on a plot to assassinate a US citizen of Indian origin in New York City.
  • Gupta, described as an associate of CC-1, communicated about involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking.
  • CC-1 recruited Nikhil Gupta in May 2023 to orchestrate the assassination.
  • Gupta sought help from a person he believed to be a criminal associate to hire a hitman in New York, unknowingly contacting individuals working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • A deal was made with the undercover DEA officers.
  • In June, Gupta provided personal information about the target to the undercover officers.
  • The document mentioned the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, with Gupta telling the undercover officers that Nijjar was also a target and there were many more targets.

On or about June 30, Nikhil Gupta travelled from India to the Czech Republic, where he was arrested by local authorities at the request of the United States.

In a surprising disclosure, it was revealed that Nikhil Gupta had faced charges filed by the Gujarat Police, but he was subsequently released, and all charges against him were dropped.

According to the US government's indictment document, Gupta's boss managed the case, ensuring his exoneration and assuring him of no further issues with the Gujarat Police.

Trudeau asks India to cooperate

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged India to cooperate in investigating the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar after the US Justice Department charged Gupta for his involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen.

Trudeau emphasized the seriousness of the issue, stating, "India needs to take this seriously." He called on the Indian government to work with Canada to uncover the truth.

According to ANI, "The news coming out of the United States further underscores what we've been talking about from the very beginning: which is India needs to take this seriously," said Trudeau.

Gupta is currently in jail and faces charges of hiring someone to commit murder, with a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison.

Last updated: November 30, 2023 | 16:31
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