Gurpatwant Singh Pannun Assassination Plot: US Sent Top Officials To India To Press For Probe, Says Report
The US believed that an Indian official was also part of the conspiracy to kill Pannun.
In yet another startling claim made by a US-based media, the news outlet reported that the Joe Biden administration sent two top intelligence officials to India to press for a probe into an alleged plot to assassinate a Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. Earlier last week, The Financial Times had reported citing US officials that America foiled India's alleged plan to kill Pannun.
The report came on a day when India said that it had constituted a high-level enquiry committee to probe the allegations. Now, the United States has announced charges against the alleged perpetrators Nikhil Gupta, regarding a murder-for-hire plot targeting Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. "The charges are contained in a Superseding Indictment unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero. Czech authorities arrested and detained GUPTA on June 30, 2023, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic," said a statement from the US Attorney's Office.
US Attorney Damian Williams said, “As alleged, the defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a U.S. citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India. I am grateful that my Office and our law enforcement partners neutralized this deadly and outrageous threat. We will not tolerate efforts to assassinate U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, and stand ready to investigate, thwart, and prosecute anyone who seeks to harm and silence Americans here or abroad.”
The statement further added that Gupta is an associate of CC-1, an Indian government employee 'who has variously described himself as a Senior Field Officer with responsibilities in Security Management and Intelligence'.
The report claimed that the issue was raised by top US leadership including President Biden and CIA Director William J Burns with India demanding New Delhi to hold those accountable for it. The report claimed that the Drug Enforcement Administration of the US foiled the plot in June this year. In the same month, another Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead in Canada by unknown assailants.
The US believed that an Indian official was also part of the conspiracy to kill Pannun. "Earlier this year, an Indian government employee (“CC-1”), working together with others, including GUPTA, in India and elsewhere, directed a plot to assassinate on U.S. soil an attorney and political activist who is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City (the “Victim”)," said the statement.
The US prosecutors claimed that Gupta coordinated a USD15,000 advance payment to a hitman's associate to kill Pannun.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi today said the US side shared some 'inputs' pertaining to the nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists and that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on 'our national security interests as well' and that relevant departments were examining the issue. (With PTI inputs)