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Case against individual in US and linking with Indian official matter of concern: MEA
New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs has responded to the US Justice Department indictment of an Indian national in an alleged foiled assassination plot in the US. In a news briefing the MEA on Thursday said that a case filed against an individual in a US court and allegedly linking him to an Indian official is a "matter of concern" and is contrary to government policy.
"We cannot share any further information on such security matters. As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said and let me reiterate that this is contrary to government policy. The nexus between organised crime, trafficking and gun running and extremists at an international level is a serious issue for law enforcement agencies and organisations to consider and it is precisely for that reason that a high-level committee has been constituted and we will obviously be guided by its results" MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The MEA spokesperson said that the US side shared some inputs related to nexus between organised crimes, gun runners, terrorists and extremists and India takes these inputs "very seriously."
"During the course of discussions with US on bilateral security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organised crimes, gun runners, terrorists and extremists. We take such inputs very seriously and high-level inquiry committee has been constituted to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter, and necessary follow-up action will be taken based on the findings of the inquiry committee. You would have seen this in our statements that we have issued" MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The MEAs statement comes after the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US-based leader of the Sikh Separatist Movement and a citizen in New York.
The US Justice Department has claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to allegedly carry out the assassination of the Sikh Separatist, which was foiled by US authorities.
Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Czech authorities had arrested and detained Gupta on June 30, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic.
The US Justice Department claimed that Gupta, is an associate of CC-1, and has described his involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking in his communications with CC-1. The indictment claims CC -1 directed the assassination plot from India.
The US Justice Department claimed that in or about May 2023, CC-1 recruited Gupta to orchestrate the assassination of the activist in the United States. At CC-1's direction, Gupta contacted an individual whom he believed to be a criminal associate, but who was in fact a confidential source working with the DEA. The source it is alleged introduced Gupta to a purported hitman, who was a DEA undercover officer.
The purported hitman was offered USD 100,000 to murder the Separatist leader, the Justice Department claims. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.