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  4. Indian accused in 'foiled' murder plot of Pannun is in Czech Republic's custody, US seeks extradition: Report

Indian accused in 'foiled' murder plot of Pannun is in Czech Republic's custody, US seeks extradition: Report

As per media reports, the alleged Indian employee had agreed to pay $1,00,000 to an assassin to carry out the slaying, with an advance payment of $15,000 already made on June 9 this year. However, the person Gupta reached for the alleged murder turned out to be a "confidential source" of the US.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: December 13, 2023 12:24 IST
Khalistani terrorist Gurupatwant Singh Pannun
Image Source : AP Khalistani terrorist Gurupatwant Singh Pannun

In a major development, the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic has confirmed that an alleged Indian government employee who plotted the "foiled" murder of a US-based Khalistani terrorist, is currently in the provisional custody of the authorities. The arrest came after the United States requested the Czech officials to nab 52-year-old Nikhil Gupta. 

Earlier last month, US federal prosecutors charged Gupta, who is allegedly associated with the Indian government, involved in the foiled assassination plot of designated Khalistani terrorist Gurupatwant Singh Pannun--  a claim that the Indian official vehemently rejected but raised "grave concerns" over the matter. The US prosecutors informed a Manhattan court that authorities in the Czech Republic arrested and detained Gupta.

What Czech Republic official says

Vladimir Repka, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Justice, told India Today that the United submitted an extradition request in August this year. India TV has mailed the Czech Republic Justice Department to confirm the media report. As of writing this article, no officials have responded to the request.   

Notably, this is the same time frame when The Washington Post reported that CIA director William Burns visited India and told the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) Ravi Sinha that "India needed to investigate the assassination plot". The American media citing a senior Biden administration official said that Burns told Sinha to ensure the accountibilty of those responsible. Also, he sought an assurance that this would not happen again.

Who is Nikhil Gupta

As per media reports, the alleged Indian employee had agreed to pay $1,00,000 to an assassin to carry out the slaying, with an advance payment of $15,000 already made on June 9 this year. However, the person Gupta reached for the alleged murder turned out to be a "confidential source" working with a US law enforcement agency.

Also, there were reports which claimed US President Joe Biden had also raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when both met during the G20 Summit in New Delhi. Notably, the conference was held between September 9-10. During the meeting, reportedly Biden told PM Modi that these activities have long-term repercussions on bilateral relations.

Top US officials visit to India 

Later in November, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited New Delhi, the news agency Reuters reported that the visits were the part of Biden administration's efforts to resolve the issue at the diplomatic level.

Besides, the issue was also raised during the 2+2 Ministerial dialogue held last month. Later, FBI Director Christopher A Wray, who is currently on an India visit, pointed out the issue with his NIA and CBI counterparts when he met with them in New Delhi. However, much of the details were not revealed in any of the statements released by Washinton and New Delhi.

Also Read: FBI director meets CBI chief in Delhi, discuss 'foiled' murder plot of Pannun, extradition of 26/11 terrorists

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