Pannun murder plot: Accused Nikhil Gupta can be extradited to US, says Czech court

India has declared Pannun a designated terrorist

India Sikh Assassination Plot Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun | PTI

A Czech Court has ruled in favour of extraditing an Indian accused of involvement in the failed assassination plot against Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US. Czech justice minister will make the final call on the extradition, reports said.

The Prague High Court on Friday ruled that Nikhil Gupta (52), accused of orchestrating the unsuccessful plot to kill Pannun on American soil can be extradited. Justice Minister Pavel Blazek will take the final decision on the extradition once the ruling is delivered to all parties in the case, Reuters reported quoting a justice spokesperson. Czech authorities arrested Gupta in June. 

According to a statement by the Assistant Attorney General of the US Justice Department's National Security Division, Matthew G. Olsen, Nikhil Gupta faces murder-for-hire charges, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. According to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, Gupta worked with an Indian government employee, whose responsibilities included security and intelligence. 

Reuters reported that Gupta had argued his identity was mistaken and that he was not the man the United States was looking for. Gupta said the case was political. A spokesperson of the Czech justice ministry said a time frame for the minister’s decision cannot be assumed now and the minister has three months to approach the  Supreme Court in case of doubts about the lower court's decisions. 

India constituted a high-level enquiry committee on November 18 last year to look into the allegations by the US. According to the United States, an Indian official recruited Gupta in May 2023 to orchestrate the assassination. The US charged that Gupta agreed to pay an assassin $100,000 to kill the Sikh separatist leader living in New York City. "On or about June 9, 2023, CC-1 and GUPTA arranged for an associate to deliver USD 15,000 in cash to the UC in Manhattan, New York, as an advance payment for the murder," according to the charges. 

India has declared Pannun, the founder of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a designated terrorist. 


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