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Indian national Nikhil Gupta, accused in alleged plot to kill Khalistani terrorist Pannun, extradited to US from Czech Republic

Washington, DC: Indian national Nikhil Gupta, who is accused of being involved in the alleged failed murder plot of India-designated pro-Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York City has been extradited from the Czech Republic to the US to stand trial, NBC News reported.
A US District Court spokesperson said Gupta is scheduled to appear in the lower Manhattan courthouse on federal murder-for-hire charges on Monday, the Amercian broadcaster said.
The US Justice Department has alleged that Gupta (52) is an associate of the Indian government and that together they and others helped plot the assassination of Pannun in New York City, NBC News reported.
In November last year, US Justice Department officials announced charges against Gupta after he was arrested in June 2023 in the Czech Republic. They said Gupta would face extradition to New York.
Pannun is an India-designated terrorist who holds American and Canadian citizenship.
Earlier in November, the US 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 Justice Department 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 carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities, according to prosecutors.
In its indictment, the Justice Department has claimed that earlier last year, an Indian government employee working together with others, including Gupta, directed a plot to assassinate a political activist who is a US citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City. It was alleged 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 that CC -1 directed the assassination plot from India.At CC-1's direction, Gupta allegedly contacted an individual whom he believed to be a criminal associate, but who was, in fact, a confidential source working with the The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the US.
The source, it was 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 claimed. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, the Justice Department stated in a release.
India in November last year formed a high-level inquiry committee to address the security concerns highlighted by the US government.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on national security interests as well, and relevant departments were already examining the issue.
In December last year, US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer acknowledged India's establishment of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the plot to allegedly kill Pannun in the US.

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