Highlights

  • US indictment into alleged plot to kill Khalistan leader
  • US affidavit says Nikhil Gupta hired by Indian official
  • Gupta tried to rope in a hitman, wanted assassination after Nijjar murder

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What are charges against Nikhil Gupta, man accused by US in 'assassination' plot

The superseding indictment filed in the alleged plot to kill a Sikh separatist notes that the arrested Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta had reached out to a mole of the law enforcement agencies to hire a hitman for the assassination.

What are charges against Nikhil Gupta, man accused by US in 'assassination' plot

The US government affidavit in a New York court has noted that arrested Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta allegedly conspired with a number of others, at least one of whom is believed to be an official in India.

The charges against Gupta will build on a bare-bones indictment, filed in mid-June and unsealed in July, which alleged that he coordinated a USD15,000 advance payment to a purported hitman’s associate.

It said Gupta was hired by the unnamed Indian official in or about May this year to orchestrate the assassination of a vocal critic of the Indian government and leads a U.S.-based organization that advocates for the secession of Punjab Gupta. It said Gupta then contacted an individual whom he believed to be a criminal associate, for assistance in contracting a hitman.

It said Gupta was given personal information of the person to be killed by the unnamed Indian official. The indictment stated that Gupta specifically instructed the hitman not to commit the murder around the time of anticipated engagements scheduled to occur in the ensuing weeks between high-level U.S. and Indian government officials.

On or about June 18, masked gunmen murdered Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia in Canada. Nijjar was an associate of the person who was to be killed in the US Gupta is charged with murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

Each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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.


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