Gurpatwant Pannun murder ‘plot’ | Czech Republic's top court halts Nikhil Gupta’s extradition to US: Report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Gurpatwant Pannun murder ‘plot’ | Czech Republic's top court halts Nikhil Gupta’s extradition to US: Report

May 07, 2024 10:04 AM IST

Nikhil Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The Czech Republic's highest court has halted the lower courts' rulings that allowed the extradition of Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national indicted by the United States for allegedly planning the assassination of Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The decision comes after considering potential harm to public interest in delaying the extradition, the newspaper added.

Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun(HT_PRINT)
Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun(HT_PRINT)

Spokesperson of the Czech ministry of justice Markéta Andrová told IE that the interim decision means “the Minister of Justice cannot decide on extradition or refusal until the Constitutional Court decides on the merits of the complaint filed by Nikhil Gupta”.

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Also Read | Have independent judicial system to decide extradition of Nikhil Gupta accused: Czech foreign minister

In the interim ruling on January 30, 2024, the Constitutional Court in Prague stated that extraditing Nikhil Gupta to the US for prosecution would cause him significantly more harm than anyone else. It underscored the irreversible nature of this action, even if Nikhil Gupta's challenge is upheld.

The ministry of justice representative also said there is no fixed timeframe by when the Constitutional Court will give its verdict on the merit of the extradition.

Nikhil Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Czech authorities had arrested and detained Nikhil Gupta on June 30, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic.

Following this, the ministry of external affairs said a case filed against an individual in a US court and allegedly linking him to an Indian official is a "matter of concern" and is contrary to government policy. India has also set up a high-level committee to probe the matter.

Also Read | Pannun 'murder' plot: Czech court rules Indian man Nikhil Gupta can be extradited to US. What next?

Reacting to the US Justice Department's indictment in November 2023, the MEA spokesperson had said, "We cannot share any further information on such security matters. As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said and let me reiterate that this is contrary to government policy."

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is an India-designated terrorist who holds American and Canadian citizenship. Earlier in November, the US Justice Department unsealed an indictment against Nikhil Gupta for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun.

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