In the allegations levelled by the United States of America against India in the failed plot to assassinate and kill the head of Sikhs Of Justice organisation Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the name of Nikhil Gupta has garnered significant attention. According to the US, a fifty-two-year-old Indian national plotted to kill Pannun, a US citizen in New York. He was caught by Czech authorities on June 30, 2023, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the US and Czech authorities.
According to the US, Gupta was in cahoots with an Indian government employee that it addressed as CC-1, who in India and elsewhere directed a plot to kill a person on US Soil, a political activist who is a US citizen of Indian origin in New York City and as per the US Justice Department, CC-1 is an Indian government agency employee who has described himself as a senior field officer with responsibilities in security management and intelligence. He had previously served in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which in turn is a subset of CAPF (Central Armed Police Force).
Who is Nikhil Gupta?
As per the US Justice Department, Gupta is an Indian national who resides in India and is an associate of the CC-1, The department has said and added that he has been involved in international narcotics and weapons trafficking as described in his communications as CC—1 and others.
Gupta was hired by the CC-1 in or about May 2023 to orchestrate the assassination of the said Khalistani separatist. The Victim is a vocal critic of the Indian government and leads a US-based organisation that advocates for the secession of Punjab and has publicly called for some or all of Punjab to break away and establish a Sikh sovereign state called Khalistan mentioned the statement from the department, adding that the said Khalistani separatist and his separatist organisation has been banned by the Indian government from India.
Planning the Assassination
At the direction of CC-1, Gupta contacted an individual who he believed was a criminal associate but was in contact with US law enforcement to assist them in contracting a hitman to murder the separatists. The law enforcement agent then introduced the hitman to Gupta, who, again, was an undercover US law enforcement officer.
CC-1 then agreed to the dealings brokered by Gupta to pay the latter 100,000 USD to murder the separatist, and as per the arrangement, the CC-1 associate paid the latter 15,000 USD as an advanced payment to the murder as per the government statement of the US.
Subsequently, CC-1 provided Gupta with the personal information of the said separatist, including his phone number, residence address and day-to-day conduct, which was then passed to the assassin. The assassin was ordered to carry out the plot as early as possible, as per the US Department, but not around the time engagements were scheduled between high-level US and Indian officials.
According to the US Justice Department, on the day following Nijjar’s killing, Gupta told the assassin that Nijjar was also a target and that they “have so many targets”. After Nijjar’s death, there was no need to wait, the US Justice Department claimed Gupta had said.
Charges on Gupta
He is charged with murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. Each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison,” the department said. The DEA’s New York Division and the counter-intelligence division of the New York field office are investigating the case with other agencies and departments providing further assistance.
Pannun is a well-known Khalistani separatist who was recently seen in a video issuing a threat to travellers on Air India. He said, “We are asking the Sikh people not to fly by air on November 19, 2023, by Air India as there will be a global blockade. Do not travel by Air India on November 19, 2023, or your life will be in danger.