The shocking revelation comes as Indian national Nikhil Gupta stands accused of attempting to hire a hitman for a staggering sum of $100,000 in cash. However, unbeknownst to him, the hitman he sought was an undercover federal agent, as stated by prosecutors.
Nikhil Gupta, aged 52, currently finds himself incarcerated in the Czech Republic, awaiting extradition. The charges brought against him carry a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. Intriguingly, Gupta’s actions were allegedly orchestrated by an unnamed Indian government official, who remains uncharged and unidentified in the indictment.
The White House has not taken this matter lightly, stating that it has raised the alleged assassination plot with India at the highest levels of government. In response, Indian officials expressed “surprise and concern” regarding the situation. Such was the gravity of the murder-for-hire allegations that President Joe Biden dispatched two top US intelligence leaders, CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, to India for discussions with their counterparts.
In the absence of an official victim’s name in the prosecutors’ statement, US media has reported the targeted individual to be Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Pannun holds dual US-Canadian citizenship and is a member of a US-based Sikh activist group.
In response to the alleged plot, Pannun questioned whether India was prepared to face the consequences of engaging in transnational terrorism. He asserted that anyone attempting to harm him, whether Indian diplomats or RAW (intelligence) agents, would be subject to the law. It is worth noting that India has labeled Pannun a terrorist, an allegation he vehemently denies, characterizing himself as an activist dedicated to the Khalistan movement.
India maintains that Pannun has repeatedly issued threats against the country, while Pannun argues that he is merely an activist advocating for the Khalistan cause.