Wed, Jul 24, 2024

Pannun plot: Indian accused pleads not guilty in US court; first visuals released

Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national, entered a not guilty plea in a US court to allegations that he had planned to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on US territory. Last week, Gupta was extradited from the Czech Republic to the United States.

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- June 18th 2024 08:15 AM
Pannun plot: Indian accused pleads not guilty in US court; first visuals released

Pannun plot: Indian accused pleads not guilty in US court; first visuals released

PTC News Desk: In a federal court in New York on Monday, Nikhil Gupta, the Indian national suspected of participating in a plot to kill Sikh activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun for hire on American territory, entered a not guilty plea.

52-year-old Gupta was recently deported from the Czech Republic, where he was detained last year, on accusations by US investigators that he worked with an Indian government official to kill American citizen Pannun.

Gupta was brought before a US Magistrate court, which decided to hold him without the ability to post bond until his upcoming hearing on June 28. Jeffrey Chabrowe, his attorney, called the case "complex" and pledged to mount a strong defense.

This is the most recent development in the purported plot to murder Pannun for hire:

1. On social networking platform X, Czech Republic Police released the first images of Nikhil Gupta's extradition to the United States. They showed a grainy video of Gupta boarding an aircraft and said, "The suspect in an assassination plot is now in US custody." They also verified Gupta was extradited from Prague without incident.

2. After being detained in Prague in June of last year, Nikhil Gupta battled extradition until a Czech judge denied his request last month. His extradition to the United States was confirmed by Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blazek on Friday.

3. Gupta is charged with two counts of murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder for hire, each of which carries a potential 10-year prison sentence. A warning not to leap to conclusions was issued by his attorney, Jeffrey Chabrowe, who said that "background and details will develop that may cast government allegations into an entirely new light."

4. US Attorney General Merrick Garland declared that attempts to cause harm to US citizens will not be accepted. Saying that Gupta "will now face justice in an American courtroom" for his alleged involvement in the scheme headed by an Indian government official, he said.

5. According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the investigation agency will not put up with attempts by foreigners or anybody else to restrict liberties that are guaranteed by the US Constitution. "We will continue to work with our partners at home and abroad to protect our citizens and these sacred rights," stated the president.

6. According to a Reuters story, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the purported target of the plot, called Gupta a "foot soldier" and expressed faith in the US legal system to hold everyone responsible, including the Indian officials behind the plot, accountable.

7. According to court documents, Gupta and an Indian government official (CC-1) plotted Pannun's murder, according to US prosecutors. In May 2023, Gupta was allegedly recruited by CC-1, a "senior field officer" with an intelligence background, to carry out the killing, according to the lawsuit.

8. NSC Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby declined to comment when asked if National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan would bring up the issue while in India, saying, "The main focus of his visit was to look for ways to deepen the US-India bilateral relationship, particularly when it comes to emerging technology."

9. The Indian government has refuted any involvement and declared that these kinds of activities are not in line with its policies. A high-level probe into the claims was also started by India.

10. The US emphasised that further action was required last month, despite expressing satisfaction with India's initial efforts towards accountability.

Also Read: PM Modi to visit Varanasi for the first time since winning Lok Sabha seat, set to release 17th PM-Kisan instalment today

- With inputs from agencies

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