Czech Court Approves Extradition of Nikhil Gupta To US For Conspiring Assassination Of Khalistani Terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun

Czech Court Approves Extradition of Nikhil Gupta To US For Conspiring Assassination Of Khalistani Terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun

Nikhil Gupta's arrest in the Czech Republic on June 30 came at the request of the US, which had charged him with murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, each carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Prathamesh KharadeUpdated: Saturday, January 20, 2024, 09:17 AM IST
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Founder of banned outfit - Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) - and India designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun |

In a significant development, a Czech appeals court has given the green signal for the extradition of 52-year-old Indian national Nikhil Gupta to the United States. Gupta stands accused by US federal prosecutors of conspiring with an Indian government official in a failed plot to assassinate Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, currently residing in New York.

The final verdict on Gupta's extradition lies in the hands of Justice Minister Pavel Blazek, according to a spokesperson from the ministry. Gupta's arrest in the Czech Republic on June 30 came at the request of the US, which had charged him with murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, each carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Defense Claims Of Mistaken Identity

Gupta's defense, as reported by Czech news outlet Seznam Zprávy, centers around a case of mistaken identity. The defense argued that Gupta is not the person sought by US authorities, categorising the entire case as politically motivated. Despite an appeal against a lower court's decision in December that allowed his extradition, the Prague High Court upheld the ruling, as per Reuters.

The Justice Ministry spokesperson has clarified that the ultimate decision rests with Justice Minister Pavel Blazek, who will make a determination once all concerned parties have received the court's decision. However, the timeline for this crucial decision remains uncertain.

US Charges & New Delhi's Response

Gupta was officially charged by the US Justice Department on November 20 for his alleged involvement in the murder plot. According to US officials, Gupta had agreed to pay $100,000 to an assassin for the killing, with an initial payment of $15,000 made on June 9, 2023. However, the intended hitman turned out to be a confidential source cooperating with US law enforcement.

In response, New Delhi expressed concern over the charges, deeming them contrary to government policy. The Indian government also initiated a high-level probe into the allegations surrounding Nikhil Gupta's involvement in the purported assassination plot.

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