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Matter of concern: India on US charging Indian national in case relating to plot to kill separatist

India on Thursday described as a “matter of concern” the US charging an Indian national with conspiring to kill a Sikh separatist on American soil, and asserted that a high-level probe committee would investigate all aspects of the case.

India has constituted a probe team to investigate allegations relating to the conspiracy to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh extremist and known to be an American and Canadian citizen.

On Wednesday, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta of involvement in the foiled plot to kill Pannun.

“As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

“We have said and let me reiterate that this is also contrary to government policy,” he said at a media briefing.

Bagchi said the “nexus between organised crime, trafficking, gunrunning and extremists at an international level is a serious issue for law enforcement agencies and organisations to consider and it is precisely for that reason that a high-level inquiry committee has been constituted and we will obviously be guided by its results.”  

The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, last week reported that US authorities foiled a plot to kill Pannun, and issued a warning to the Indian government over concerns that it was involved in the plot.

The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that the Biden administration was so concerned after discovering the plot to kill the Sikh separatist that it sent CIA Director William J Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to India in August and October respectively, to demand investigation and hold to account those responsible. 

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