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An Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, has been charged with plotting to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader in New York City.

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The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York revealed that Czech authorities detained Gupta in June for planning the murder of the unnamed Sikh leader, identified by media as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The indictment alleges Gupta collaborated with an Indian government employee, referred to as CC-1, who orchestrated the plot from India. CC-1 claimed to be a “Senior Field Officer” with duties in “Security Management” and “Intelligence.”

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Gupta is accused of reaching out to an individual he believed could help hire a hitman. Unbeknownst to him, this individual was a confidential source working with the DEA, who then introduced Gupta to a supposed hitman, another undercover DEA agent. Gupta provided a $15,000 advance for the assassination and instructed that the murder not coincide with high-profile US-India government meetings. The total price for the assassination would be $100,000.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen stated, “The Department of Justice will be relentless in using the full reach of our authorities to pursue accountability for lethal plotting emanating from overseas.”

The plot’s revelation follows US concerns over a reported assassination attempt on an American-Canadian Sikh separatist leader. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson confirmed the US government’s serious approach to this matter, having raised it with Indian officials at the highest levels. In response to the accusations, The Indian government has set up a high-level committee to “investigate the allegations.”


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