Indian American Congressmembers welcome India’s probe into Pannun foiled assassination plot


Indian American Members of Congress have “welcomed” the Indian government’s announcement of a committee of enquiry to probe the alleged foiled assassination plot against India-designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Ami Bera and Pramila Jayapal

Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Shri Thanedar and Raja Krishnamoorthi called the allegations made in the indictment of Nikhil Gupta in connection with a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen “deeply concerning.”

Congress members released the statement after receiving a classified briefing from the Biden Administration on the indictment of Nikhil Gupta in connection with a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen in New York City.

In the press release, the US Representatives said, “We appreciate the Administration providing us a classified briefing on the Department of Justice’s indictment of Nikhil Gupta, which alleges that an Indian government official engaged in a murder-for-hire plot of an American citizen.”

Congress members stressed that the safety and well-being of constituents is the “most important priority.” Indian American members of Congress noted that the partnership between India and Congress has made a “meaningful impact” on the lives of people of both nations.

In the press release, Indian American Members of Congress said, “Members of Congress, the safety and well-being of our constituents is our most important priority. The allegations made in the indictment are deeply concerning. We welcome the Government of India’s announcement of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the murder plot and it is critical that India fully investigate, hold those responsible, including Indian government officials, accountable, and provide assurances that this will not happen again.”

Congressman Shri Thanedar

They added, “We believe the US-India partnership has made meaningful impact on the lives of both of our people, but we are concerned that the actions outlined in the indictment could, if not appropriately addressed, cause significant damage to this very consequential partnership.”

Earlier in November, the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US-based leader of the Sikh Separatist Movement and a citizen in New York.

The US Justice Department has claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities, according to prosecutors.

Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Czech authorities had arrested and detained Gupta on June 30, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic.

In its indictment, the US Justice Department has claimed that, earlier this year, an Indian government employee working together with others, including Gupta, directed a plot to assassinate on a political activist who is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City.

It is claimed that Gupta, is an associate of CC-1, and has described his involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking in his communications with CC-1. The indictment claims CC -1 directed the assassination plot from India.

At CC-1’s direction, Gupta contacted an individual whom he believed to be a criminal associate, but who was in fact a confidential source working with the DEA. The source it is alleged introduced Gupta to a purported hitman, who was a DEA undercover officer.

The purported hitman was offered USD 100,000 to murder the Separatist leader, the Justice Department claimed. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. be guided by its results, according to the statement.

On November 30, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that a case filed against an individual in a US court and allegedly linking him to an Indian official is a “matter of concern” and is contrary to government policy.

“We cannot share any further information on such security matters. As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said and let me reiterate that this is contrary to government policy,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

“The nexus between organised crime, trafficking and gun running and extremists at an international level is a serious issue for law enforcement agencies and organisations to consider and it is precisely for that reason that a high-level committee has been constituted and we will obviously be guided by its results,” he added.

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