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Business News/ News / India/  Nikhil Gupta 'forced' to eat beef in Czech, Hindu beliefs 'violated', says plea in Supreme Court
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Nikhil Gupta 'forced' to eat beef in Czech, Hindu beliefs 'violated', says plea in Supreme Court

The habeas corpus petition in Supreme Court claimed that during Nikhil Gupta's arrest, the Czech authorities didn't adhere to the required protocols and requested government intervention in getting him released from the Czech prison

While pushing the matter to 4 January, the Supreme Court asked the petitioners to approach the court in the Czech RepublicPremium
While pushing the matter to 4 January, the Supreme Court asked the petitioners to approach the court in the Czech Republic

The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Nikhil Gupta, who is accused in the alleged plot to assassinate wanted Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on US soil. The habeas corpus petition claimed that during Nikhil Gupta's arrest, the Czech authorities didn't adhere to the required protocols and he was being forced to eat beef and pork during his detention, despite being a devout Hindu. 

A habeas corpus petition is a legal request filed by an individual who is detained or imprisoned, seeking relief from unlawful or unjust imprisonment.

While pushing the matter to 4 January, the Supreme Court asked the petitioners to approach the court in the Czech Republic. "You have to go before the court which is outside India. Go over there. We are not going to have an adjudication over here. The person detained has not given the affidavit. If there is violation of any law etc you have to go to court over there," a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SV Bhatti observed as per Bar and Bench.

‘Nikhil Gupta arrest was marked by irregularities’

The petitioner, who identified himself as a family member of Nikhil Gupta submitted that it was the second time when Gupta came in the crossfire between the US and Czech Republic. The plea also claimed that Nikhil Gupta's arrest was marked by irregularities.

“The circumstances surrounding his arrest were marked by irregularities, with no formal arrest warrant presented, and the apprehension executed by self-claimed US agents rather than local Czech authorities," the plea by Nikhil Gupta's family member said.

"Then these individuals who claimed to be law enforcement officers forcefully made the petitioner sit in an unidentified black SUV. It may be noted that the black SUV already had two individuals hiding inside. The individuals took the petitioner’s mobile phone forcefully from the petitioner and attached a device to it as they continued to question the petitioner. Furthermore, the petitioner submits that the self-introduced American agents even forcefully made the Petitioner open/ unlock his phone using the face ID feature (on the iPhone). They also took pictures of the petitioner. After much resistance from the petitioner, the individuals who had apprehended the petitioner identified themselves to be American agents," the plea added.

‘Forced to eat beef and pork’

The petition also mentioned that the Czech authorities are violating Gupta's religious beliefs as he is being forced to eat beef and pork in prison despite being a devout Hindu.

"He claims that, as a law-abiding middle-class businessman, his journey to the Czech Republic for leisure and business exploration turned into a nightmare due to an illegal arrest, language barriers, and lack of assistance, violating his rights under Articles 14, 19, and 21, along with the right to freedom of religion," the plea said.

The petitioner referred to Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which safeguards individuals from unjustifiable intrusions into their privacy, family life, residence, or communication. This article also protects against assaults on one's honor and reputation.

Pannun assassination plot

As per the reports, Nikhil Gupta was arrested in Czech around June this year when the US suspected him and another Indian official to be planning an assassination plot against their citizen Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The Department of Justice Prosecutors filed an indictment in New York against Nikhil Gupta and the Indian intelligence official identified as CC-1.

The development led to a major diplomatic row between India and the United States with the matter being dealt with at the highest level of both countries. The incident attracted more attention as it came two months after Canada accused the "agents of Indian government" to be linked with the murder of Canadian Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey.

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Published: 15 Dec 2023, 03:29 PM IST
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