Sunday, March 3, 2024

US takes alleged Indian government involvement in foiled assassination plot “very seriously”

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Shillong, December 1: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed serious concern on Thursday regarding allegations of an Indian government official’s involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. While in Tel Aviv, Blinken welcomed India’s investigation into the matter, emphasizing the gravity of the issue.

India Today reported that Blinken refrained from providing detailed comments due to the ongoing judicial consideration but highlighted that multiple officials had directly raised the issue with the Indian government in recent weeks. White House spokesperson John Kirby echoed these sentiments during a press briefing, emphasizing the significance of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The US Justice Department recently indicted Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta, accusing him of collaborating with an Indian government agency employee to hire a hitman for Pannun’s murder. The indictment does not name the targeted individual or the government official involved. The Financial Times previously reported on a foiled plot to kill Pannun, issuing a warning to India over its alleged involvement.

Kirby acknowledged India’s responsiveness to the matter, expressing satisfaction with India’s decision to conduct its own investigation. India has constituted a probe team to look into the allegations, with the Foreign Ministry describing it as a “matter of concern” and “contrary to government policy.”

Nikhil Gupta, facing charges of murder-for-hire and conspiracy, could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. Federal prosecutors claim the failed plot was part of a broader scheme to carry out politically motivated murders in the United States and Canada, intending to target at least four individuals by June 29 and more thereafter.

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