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Business News/ News / Pannun 'assassination' plot: Indian-American lawmakers warn of damage to US-India partnership if…

Pannun 'assassination' plot: Indian-American lawmakers warn of damage to US-India partnership if…

Congress members urge India to fully investigate and hold responsible those involved in murder plot.

Khalistani separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (File)Premium
Khalistani separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (File)

Indian-American lawmakers have expressed deep concern over an Indian named Nikhil Gupta being charged with an alleged plot to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American-Canadian citizen. The lawmakers have warned of significant damage to the US–India partnership if the situation is not appropriately addressed.

Congress members Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Shri Thanedar released a joint statement after receiving a classified briefing from the Biden Administration on Gupta's indictment.

Also Read: Nikhil Gupta 'forced' to eat beef in Czech, Hindu beliefs 'violated', says plea in Supreme Court

In a statement released by the lawmakers stated, “As Members of Congress, the safety and well-being of our constituents is our most important priority. The allegations made in the indictment are deeply concerning."

"We welcome the Government of India's announcement of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the murder plot, and it is critical that India fully investigate, hold those responsible, including Indian government officials, accountable, and provide assurances that this will not happen again," it said as quoted by news agency PTI.

"We believe the US–India partnership has made a meaningful impact on the lives of both of our people, but we are concerned that the actions outlined in the indictment could, if not appropriately addressed, cause significant damage to this very consequential partnership," the five Indian American congressmen said.

If the issue is not addressed appropriately, it could cause significant damage to the US-India partnership, they warned after a classified briefing by the Biden administration of Nikhil Gupta's indictment.

On November 29, Gupta was charged by federal prosecutors in the US in connection with his alleged participation in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun. The 52-year-old was charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, which has a maximum sentence of a 10-year jail term. The US authorities had alleged Gupta agreed to pay an assassin $100,000 to kill Pannun in New York City. He was arrested in the Czech Republic on June 30 at the request of the US in connection with his alleged participation in the plot to kill Pannun. 

The prosecutors had said Czech authorities arrested and detained Gupta under the bilateral extradition treaty between the US and the Czech Republic. 

Meanwhile, Gupta's relative has filed a habeas corpus plea in the Supreme Court of India, seeking consular help. The bench during the hearing described the matter as an "extremely sensitive issue for the Ministry of External Affairs" and told senior advocate representing Nikhil Gupta, to approach a court in the Czech Republic, where his client is lodged in a jail.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Published: 16 Dec 2023, 07:51 AM IST
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