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Indian-American Lawmakers On Murder Plot Charge: If Not Addressed…

'If Not Addressed...': Indian-American Lawmakers On Murder Plot Charge

Nikhil Gupta was detained at the Prague airport in June. (representational)

New Delhi:

Indian-American lawmakers have expressed deep concern over an Indian being charged with an alleged plot to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American-Canadian citizen.

If the issue is not addressed appropriately, it could cause significant damage to the US-India partnership, they warned after a classified briefing by the Biden administration of Nikhil Gupta’s indictment.

Mr Gupta was detained at the Prague airport in June in an action that came at the request of the US, the Czech government told NDTV on Friday. The US had submitted an extradition request two months later, they said.

Friday’s classified briefing were attended by US Representatives Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Shri Thanedar.

“We believe the US-India partnership has made meaningful impact on the lives of both of our people, but we are concerned that the actions outlined in the indictment could, if not appropriately addressed, cause significant damage to this very consequential partnership,” they said in a statement.

The US Congress members said the charges were deeply concerning and the safety of their constituents are their most important priority. They welcomed India’s move to form an enquiry committee, but said it should assure the US that such incidents will not happen again.

“We welcome the Government of India’s announcement of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the murder plot and it is critical that India fully investigate, hold those responsible, including Indian government officials, accountable, and provide assurances that this will not happen again,” they said.

Mr Gupta, 52, moved the Supreme Court on Friday via a family member and claimed multiple violations of fundamental rights, including threats to himself and his family, and requested the Indian government to intervene in his extradition to the US. The hearing has been adjourned till January 4.

He claimed he was intercepted by “American agents” on his arrival in Prague, then bundled into a black SUV and interrogated for three hours while being driven around the foreign city. He claimed he was “forced” to eat only pork and beef during his first few days in the prison.

Nikhil Gupta has been charged by US federal prosecutors with working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Pannun, a designated terrorist in India.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had alleged the role of Indian agents in the June murder of another Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen. India had rejected the allegations as “motivated”.

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