• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

INDIA

India contacts family of man accused in US assassination plot

Nikhil Gupta was extradited to the US this month after his arrest in Prague last year.

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Sikh community protest outside Manhattan federal court as Nikhil Gupta makes his appearance at the federal court in New York City, U.S., June 17, 2024. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz.

By: Pramod Thomas

NEW DELHI is in touch with the family of an Indian man who is accused of plotting with an Indian government official to kill a Sikh separatist in the US, the foreign ministry said on Friday (21) in reaction to a report.

Nikhil Gupta, extradited to the US this month after his arrest in Prague last year, has been accused by US federal prosecutors of unsuccessfully plotting with an Indian official to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a US citizen.

Gupta, 52, pleaded not guilty on Monday (17) to murder-for-hire conspiracy charges in a court in Manhattan and a source close to his family said on Thursday (20) that it wanted New Delhi’s help to “get justice”.

“We have so far not received any request for consular access from Gupta, but his family has got in touch with us,” Indian foreign ministry Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told reporters.

“We are in touch with the family members and we are looking at the matter as to what can be done on their request.”

The US government has said it thwarted the alleged plot to kill Pannun and warned India about concerns of its involvement.

India has designated Pannun an “individual terrorist” but has dissociated itself from the plot, saying it goes against government policy. Pannun advocates for a sovereign Sikh state in northern India.

The source, who declined to be named given the sensitive nature of a case that has diplomatic implications, had said Gupta’s family has not been able to establish direct contact with him since his extradition.

“Regardless of the allegations raised against him, he is an Indian citizen and a patriot who deserves the rights and protections granted by the government to its citizens.”

The source said the family believed Gupta “is a victim in this series of events” but that “he will get justice”.

(Reuters)

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