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Pannun murder plot: US Government rejects request for discovery material to Nikhil Gupta

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Shillong, January 11: The US government has declined to provide “discovery material” in response to a motion filed by Indian national Nikhil Gupta’s lawyers. Gupta is implicated in an alleged plot to assassinate Sikh radical Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

As per IANS, Gupta’s legal team, asserting that their client faces human rights violations, sought evidence related to the charges against him in a ‘Motion to Compel Production of Discovery’ filed on January 4 in the US District Court, Southern District of New York.

US District Judge Victor Marrero ordered the government to respond to the motion within three days. In the response filed on Wednesday, the government objected to providing materials, stating that “the defendant is not entitled to discovery” and expressed readiness to share discovery upon Gupta’s appearance and arraignment.

US Attorney Damian Williams affirmed, “The government stands ready to provide discovery to him, like any other criminal defendant, promptly upon his appearance and arraignment in this District. His motion to compel discovery should be denied.”

Gupta’s attorney, Jeff Chabrowe, emphasized in the motion that the “defence materials” are crucial for their ability to defend against the charges. The New York court gave the government three days to respond to the motion.

In addition to the discovery request, Gupta’s lawyers cited human rights violations during his custody in Prague, where he was arrested by Czech authorities on June 30, 2023, based on a US extradition request. The motion highlighted limited family access, denial of consular access, and basic human rights violations.

Last November, US prosecutors unveiled murder-for-hire charges against Gupta, accusing him of involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen on behalf of an Indian government employee. Gupta faces charges with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

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