Accused Man Pleads Not Guilty in Sikh Separatist Assassination Plot




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The Alleged Plot

An Indian man named Nikhil Gupta pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court to charges of orchestrating a failed assassination plot against Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York. Prosecutors claim that Gupta devised this plan on behalf of an unnamed official in India’s government.

The International Scheme

The murder attempt against Pannun unfolded across several countries, raising doubts about India’s commitment to democracy. This plot mirrored the successful killing of another separatist in Canada.

The Legal Proceedings

Gupta faces charges of murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder for hire, with a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each charge. He is currently held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

The Complex Case

Mr. Chabrowe, Gupta’s lawyer, emphasized the complexity of the case for both India and the United States, hinting that new information could shed a different light on the government’s allegations.

The Indictment

Prosecutors described an audacious plot where an Indian government employee enlisted Gupta to organize Pannun’s assassination, leveraging Gupta’s reported involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking.

The Undercover Operation

Gupta unknowingly contacted an undercover DEA officer, thinking he was hiring a hitman. Deals were made, with the Indian official agreeing to pay $100,000 for the murder. Gupta even shared personal details about Pannun with the officer.

The Alleged Targets

Gupta hinted at other targets after the killing of another Sikh separatist leader in Canada. He instructed the undercover officer to proceed with the assassination of Pannun promptly, avoiding high-level diplomatic meetings.

The International Ramifications

Pannun expressed faith in the U.S. justice system to hold Gupta accountable for the attempted assassination. He condemned the act as India’s transnational terrorism, challenging America’s sovereignty.

The Diplomatic Landscape

Gupta’s case poses a challenge to relations among the U.S., Canada, and India. President Biden’s efforts to strengthen ties with India, despite concerns about its democratic values, face scrutiny in light of these events.


Read More of this Story at www.nytimes.com – 2024-06-17 21:57:59

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