(UnitedVoice.com) – In September, Canadian officials made stunning allegations against India’s government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke before parliament and accused the nation of being involved in the assassination of a Sikh activist. The Indian government denied the allegations and kicked 41 Canadian diplomats out of the country. Now, the United States has indicted an Indian national and accused him of a murder-for-hire plot against an American citizen.
On November 29, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) unsealed a superseding indictment against Nikhil “Nick” Gupta. The 52-year-old is accused of participating in a failed plot to assassinate a US citizen in New York City.
According to a press release, Gupta resides in India and is associated with a government official referred to as “CC-1” in the indictment. That government official allegedly worked with the defendant and others and directed a plot to assassinate a political activist and lawyer of Indian origin who resides in New York City. He allegedly began orchestrating the plot around May 2023.
CC-1 allegedly directed Gupta to contact someone he thought was a criminal associate to help find a hitman. However, that person was actually a confidential informant working for law enforcement. The informant introduced the defendant to someone he said was a hitman but was, in reality, a law enforcement agent who was undercover. CC-1 reportedly agreed to pay the “hitman” $100,000 for the murder. Gupta and CC-1 arranged for someone else to deliver a $15,000 deposit to the “hitman” in June, which they did to an apartment in Manhattan.
CC-1 then allegedly gave Gupta the victim’s address and other personal information, like his day-to-day movements. Gupta then forwarded surveillance photos of the victim, updating him on the plot’s progress. The fake hitman was told not to carry out the crime around the time of the talks between the US government and India. After Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in Canada on June 18, CC-1 reportedly sent Gupta a text telling him that he didn’t have to wait to kill the American victim.
The DOJ press release described the victim as a “vocal critic of the Indian government” who leads a Sikh group advocating for the secession of Punjab, a state in the northern part of the country that’s home to a large number of Sikhs. He wants to establish a new state called Khalistan.
The victim wasn’t named in the press release, but Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying he was Gupta’s target.
"If Death Is The cost For Running the Khalistan Referendum, I Am Willing To Pay That Price".
The assassination attempt on my life by India cannot deter me from organizing the voting for the independence referendum and I am moving forward with organizing the American Phase of… pic.twitter.com/5HjELsK53o
— Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (@SFJGenCounsel) November 29, 2023
Pannun said the government of India won’t “deter [him] from organizing the voting for the independence referendum,” and he’s moving forward with the Khalistan Referendum.
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