The indictment, unveiled on Wednesday, reveals shocking details of the sinister conspiracy.
Nikhil Gupta, a 52-year-old Indian citizen, allegedly collaborated with an undisclosed Indian official to arrange a meeting with an undercover law enforcement officer, whom he believed to be a contract killer targeting the victim. Although the indictment does not disclose the victim’s name, it describes the individual as a US citizen, an attorney, and a vocal critic of the Indian government. Shockingly, the Indian official agreed to pay a substantial sum of $100,000 to the undercover officer for the planned murder.
US officials familiar with the case have confirmed that the victim is Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who leads an organization known as “Sikhs for Justice” based in New York. This group has conducted referendums advocating for the establishment of a separate Sikh homeland, referred to as Khalistan, which would encompass parts of India. Notably, the Indian government has deemed this organization illegal, and its website is inaccessible within India.
Nikhil Gupta faces serious charges of murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. He was apprehended in the Czech Republic in June of this year and has been detained pursuant to a bilateral extradition treaty.
Authorities allege that Gupta collaborated with an Indian government official who identified himself as a “senior field officer” with intelligence responsibilities and directed the assassination plot from India.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who has been branded a terrorist by the Indian government and accused of inciting separatism, issued a statement condemning the attempt on his life as a “threat to freedom of speech and democracy.” He asserted that this act represents India’s transnational terrorism, which poses a challenge to America’s sovereignty and undermines freedom of speech and democracy. Pannun also pointed out that this incident, coupled with the recent assassination of another Sikh separatist on Canadian soil, complicates relations between the US and India.