Pannun ‘plot’: Nikhil Gupta facing human rights violations in custody, says lawyer - Hindustan Times
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Pannun ‘plot’: Nikhil Gupta facing human rights violations in custody, says lawyer

ByPress Trust of India
Jan 12, 2024 06:42 AM IST

Indian national Nikhil Gupta, charged by federal prosecutors in a murder-for-hire plot to kill a Khalistani separatist on American soil, is being subjected to human rights violations, including extended solitary confinement, while in custody in the Czech Republic, his lawyer has said in court documents

New York : Indian national Nikhil Gupta, charged by federal prosecutors in a murder-for-hire plot to kill a Khalistani separatist on American soil, is being subjected to human rights violations, including extended solitary confinement, while in custody in the Czech Republic, his lawyer has said in court documents.

Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

The court documents also say Gupta was last in the United States in 2017.

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Gupta, 52, was charged by federal prosecutors here in an indictment unsealed in November last year with working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who holds dual US and Canadian citizenships, on American soil.

Gupta was arrested in Prague, the Czech Republic on June 30, 2023, and is being held there currently. The US government is seeking his extradition to America.

His attorney Jeff Chabrowe filed a ‘Motion to Compel Production of Discovery’ on January 4 in the US District Court, Southern District of New York, requesting the Court to direct federal prosecutors to provide “the defence materials relevant to its ability to defend the instant charges.”

In the motion, his attorney stated that Gupta, an Indian national, “was last in the United States in 2017.” The motion states that Gupta’s family has reported to the media that they have “limited access” to him, he is not allowed consular access and he “faces basic human rights violations in custody in Prague, including extended solitary confinement. A habeas petition has been filed on his behalf with the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic.”

US District Judge Victor Marrero had on January 8 given the government three days’ time to respond to the motion filed by Gupta’s attorney. The government, in its reply filed with the district court Wednesday, said Gupta’s motion asking for discovery material should be denied.

“The government respectfully submits this letter in opposition to defendant Nikhil Gupta’s motion to compel discovery during the pendency of his extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic,” federal prosecutors said.

As described in the superseding indictment, to facilitate the murder, Gupta arranged for an associate to make an initial USD 15,000 payment in cash to a US law enforcement undercover officer in Manhattan. Over the course of several weeks, Gupta regularly discussed the alleged plot with the undercover officer and with a US law enforcement confidential source, whom Gupta believed to be a criminal associate, “including on video calls in which the defendant personally appeared.”

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