Pannun case a 'serious issue', working with India to hold culprits accountable: US

A senior US official said they have raised it at the highest levels with India

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

The United States has called the alleged assassination attempt against Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun a "serious issue" and said it was working with the Indian government to hold those responsible accountable.

"This is a serious issue between the United States and India. The Department of Justice has alleged that an Indian citizen, at the behest of someone working in the Indian government, has attempted to kill an American citizen on American soil. We take this in the administration incredibly seriously and have raised it at the highest levels with India," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday during a Congressional hearing.

Lu added that India itself has announced that they have created a committee of inquiry to look into this matter. "We ask them to work quickly and transparently to make sure justice is done,” Donald Lu added. 

Lu was responding to a question from Congressman Dean Phillips from Minnesota, who asked if sanctions similar to those placed on more than 500 individuals relating to the killing of Alexei Navalny in Russia are being considered for those believed to be behind the plot to kill Pannun. 

The incident came to light after the US charged an Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, in November last year over his involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun, who holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada. According to the US federal prosecutors, Gupta was working with an Indian government employee and had agreed to pay an assassin USD 1,00,000 to kill Pannun, who lives in New York City. Though the Indian government employee was not identified in the indictment filed, the prosecutors alleged that he was the one who hired Gupta to carry out the assassination of Pannun, which was foiled by US authorities.

India said it was constituting a probe committee to investigate the allegations.

(With PTI inputs)


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