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Family seeks consular help for Indian linked to Sikh murder plot

NEW DELHI: The family of an Indian man in Czech custody, whom the US accuses of involvement in an unsuccessful plot to kill a Sikh separatist on American soil, asked India’s top court on Friday to direct the government to give him consular assistance.

The man, Nikhil Gupta, 52, has been accused by US prosecutors of working with an Indian government official on the plot to kill a New York City resident who advocated for a sovereign Sikh state in India.

Gupta was arrested by Czech authorities in June when he travelled from India to Prague and is awaiting extradition to the US.

The Gupta family petition said he was “illegally detained” in Prague, denied the right to contact his family in India and the freedom to seek legal representation.

It requested the court direct the Indian government to provide Gupta with consular assistance to ensure he gets a fair extradition hearing in Prague.

The court posted the petition for hearing on Jan 4.

India has expressed concern about one of its government officials being linked to the plot, from which it dissociated itself, and said it would carry out its own investigation.

The Indian foreign ministry spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The case is delicate for both Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the Biden administration as they try to build closer ties in the face of an ascendant China perceived as a threat for both democracies.

It comes two months after Canada said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a Vancouver suburb, a contention India has rejected.

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