Nikhil Gupta, a 52-year-old Indian national, has been apprehended in the Czech Republic for his involvement in a conspiracy to murder Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the United States. Pannun, known for advocating Sikh separatism, is the leader of Sikhs for Justice, a pro-Khalistan group.
The plot unfolds with Gupta allegedly recruited by an unnamed senior Indian government employee in security and intelligence. This official, acting as a middleman, reportedly agreed to pay an undercover US agent $100,000 for the assassination. Gupta, unaware of the agent’s true identity, believed he had hired a hitman for the task.
The case raises diplomatic tensions between the US and India, reminiscent of a similar incident in Canada involving the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. US authorities express grave concern over the allegations, emphasizing the severity of the situation in discussions with Indian counterparts.
Gupta, who has reportedly confessed to past criminal activities, faces charges of two counts of murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire conspiracy. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
These developments underscore the complexities surrounding Sikh separatist movements and the potential involvement of individuals with ties to government agencies. The international community closely watches as investigations unfold and diplomatic dialogues continue.