Gurpatwant Pannun 'murder' plot: US says 'serious issue,' collaborates with India for accountability

An individual of Indian origin, Nikhil Gupta, has been indicted by US authorities in the thwarted conspiracy to assassinate Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Follow us:

The United States revealed on Wednesday its collaborative efforts with the Indian government to hold accountable those implicated in a plot targeting Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu, speaking at a Congressional hearing, emphasized the gravity of the situation.

During the hearing, Lu stated, "This is a serious issue. A serious issue between the United States and India. The Department of Justice has alleged that an Indian citizen, at the behest of someone working in the Indian government, has attempted to kill an American citizen on American soil." He underscored the administration's seriousness in addressing the matter and highlighted discussions at the highest levels with India.

In November of the previous year, US prosecutors in New York revealed an indictment charging Nikhil Gupta, 52, for colluding with an Indian government employee in an aborted scheme to assassinate Pannun, who holds citizenship in both the US and Canada. Prosecutors alleged that Gupta, under the direction of an unnamed Indian official, sought criminal assistance to carry out Pannun's killing in the US.

India, in response, has formed a probe committee to investigate the allegations. Pannun, associated with the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has been labeled a terrorist by India. Lu assured that the Joe Biden administration is actively engaged with India to hold the perpetrators accountable for the foiled plot. He urged India to conduct a swift and transparent inquiry to ensure justice prevails.

Regarding potential sanctions akin to those imposed on over 500 individuals linked to the assassination of Russia's Alexei Navalny, Lu responded to Congressman Dean Phillips' inquiry, stating that discussions on such measures are ongoing. Meanwhile, recent reports from Bloomberg, citing informed sources, indicate India's probe findings suggest involvement of rogue agents not sanctioned by the government in the alleged plot. These findings have been communicated to US authorities following an investigation by a government-appointed panel into the matter.