Indian official plotted to kill Khalistan separatist Pannun in New York: UStext_fields
New Delhi: United States federal prosecutors accused an Indian intelligence official of involvement in the plot to kill Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York.
The revelation comes a couple of months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of involvement in the murder of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
A report by The Indian Express, citing an indictment filed by the US Department of Justice, said the official had allegedly planned and directed the plot from India, which had a source and a hitman who were undercover US officers.
The indictment filed at a federal court said that Indian official worked with another Indian citizen named Nikhil Gupta, alias Nick.
The 52-year-old was arrested by Czech authorities in June for murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.
The Indian official, who is named in the report as CC-I, is an Indian government agency employee who described himself as a ‘Senior Field Officer.
The indictment accused that the Indian official of recruiting Gupta to ‘orchestrate the assassination’ of Pennun in the US.
Gupta is residing in India and has involvement in international narcotics and weapon trafficking, the report said citing the indictment.
Following the Indian official’s direction, Gupta allegedly contacted a criminal associate, who is a ‘confidence source’ working with the US law enforcement.
The confidential source introduced Gupta to a hitman, another undercover US law enforcement officer and then Gupta brokered dealings.
The indictment reportedly said that the Indian official agreed to ‘pay the undercover officer USD 100,000 to murder’ Khalistan separatist Pannun.
Subsequently, Gupta talked to the confidential source over audio call ‘on or about June 2, 2023’, urging him to have his associates carry out the murder at the earliest, according to the report.
Gupta got an associate ‘on or about June 9’ to ‘deliver $15,000 in cash to the undercover officer as an advance payment for the murder’ in Manhattan, which was delivered as per the report.
The indictment said that the Indian official provided Gupta with details about Pannun’s address in New York City and phone numbers linked to him and his movements.
Gupta then passed on the details to the undercover officer and the Indian official directed Gupta to update him about the progress of the plot.
Gupta, according to the report, provided the Indian official with surveillance photographs of Pannun and other details.
The day after the murder of Nijjar in Canada, Gupta told the undercover US law enforcement officer that Khalistan terrorists ‘was also the target’, adding ‘we have so many targets’.
Shortly later Gupta told the confidential source by an audio call to ‘find the opportunity’ to kill Pannun, adding ‘do it quickly’.