Highlights

  • Indian Nikhil Gupta charged by US for 'assassination' plot
  • US claims Gupta involved in alleged plot to kill Sikh leader in New York
  • US has said that an Indian govt employee recruited Gupta

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Indian Nikhil Gupta charged by US: what indictment says about 'assassination' plot

While the US indictment does not mention the target, reports say that it was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the leader of the Sikhs for Justice organisation.

Indian Nikhil Gupta charged by US: what indictment says about 'assassination' plot

The United States has charged an Indian man for allegedly being involved in a plot to kill an American citizen in New York. The documents submitted by the US say that the target was a Sikh activist who advocated for a separate state of Khalistan.

US has claimed that an Indian government employee contacted Nikhil Gupta in May 2023 and ‘recruited GUPTA to orchestrate the assassination of the Victim in the United States. ‘

‘In or about May 2023, CC-1 recruited GUPTA to orchestrate the assassination of the Victim in the United States. The Victim is a vocal critic of the Indian government and leads a U.S.-based organization that advocates for the secession of Punjab, a state in northern India that is home to a large population of Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India,’ a press release on the US Justice Department website says.

The document adds that Gupta contacted an individual he believed to be a ‘criminal associate’ but he was a ‘confidential source’ working with the American Drug Enforcement Agency. Gupta wanted the associate to help him contract a hitman for the alleged assassination plot.

The associate introduced Gupta to a ‘purported hitman, who was in fact a DEA undercover officer’.

The indictment filed by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York says that the India government employee agreed through Nikhil Gupta to pay the ‘hitman’ $100,000 for assassination.

‘In or about June 2023’, the Indian govt employee gave Gupta personal information about the target including his number, address and schedule. Gupta then passed the details to the ‘hitman’. The US document says Gupta sent the Indian government employee regular surveillance photographs of the target.

US prosecutors have said that Gupta asked the ‘hitman’, who was a US undercover agent, to carry out the murder as soon as possible but asked him not to do anything ‘around the time of anticipated engagements scheduled to occur in the ensuing weeks between high-level U.S. and Indian government officials.’

On June 20, 2023 – two days after Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in Canada – Gupta sent the ‘hitman’ a news article on the target and said the assassination was now a priority.

The indictment has not named the US citizen but The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, last week reported that US authorities thwarted a plot to assassinate banned Sikhs for Justice’s Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, and issued a warning to the Indian government over concerns it was involved in the plot.

Also Watch: What US indictment of Indian Nikhil Gupta says about Nijjar killing


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