Supreme Court to hear Nikhil Gupta's plea in Pannun assassination plot on Jan 4 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Supreme Court to hear Nikhil Gupta's plea in Gurpatwant Pannun's failed assassination plot on January 4

Dec 15, 2023 06:36 PM IST

A plea has been filed on behalf of Nikhil Gupta seeking the intervention of the Centre seeking his release from prison in the Czech Republic.

The Supreme Court will hear on January 4 a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Indian national Nikhil Gupta, an accused of allegedly plotting the failed assassination of Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on US soil, seeking the intervention of the government of India to release him from prison in the Czech Republic.

Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York. U.S. (AP)
Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York. U.S. (AP)

The Supreme Court directed Gupta to serve a copy of the petition to the central government counsel and agreed to consider the request of his lawyer to have an in-camera proceeding on the next date of hearing.

US federal prosecutors last month charged Nikhil Gupta with working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh extremist who is an American and Canadian citizen. An unnamed Indian official also appeared in an indictment along with the Indian national, who the department of justice alleges hired someone in the US to assassinate Pannun.

India Today reported that the ministry of justice of the Czech Republic has confirmed the arrest and provisional custody of Nikhil Gupta. The action was taken at the behest of the US.

Vladimir Repka, a spokesperson for the Czech ministry of justice, said Gupta was arrested at the request of the US, which later submitted an extradition request. The charges against Gupta include conspiracy to commit murder for hire, as detailed by US authorities, the report added.

India has described as a "matter of concern" the US linking the Indian official to a man charged with conspiring to kill Pannun, and asserted that follow-up action will be taken based on findings of an inquiry panel investigating the allegations.

India has already constituted a probe team to investigate the allegations.

US principal deputy NSA Jonathan Finer, who was in India earlier this month, conveyed to New Delhi the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible in the probe announced by India to investigate the alleged Indian link to the incident.

As Finer wrapped up his high-profile visit to India, the White House said Finer "acknowledged" India's establishment of a committee of enquiry to investigate the "lethal plotting" and underlined the need for holding accountable those responsible.

"Finer acknowledged India's establishment of a committee of enquiry to investigate lethal plotting in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible," it said in a readout while referring to his meetings in the national capital.

The readout did not mention with which Indian officials the principal deputy NSA raised the issue.

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