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International Murder-for-Hire Plot Unveiled: Indian Government Employee Charged in Ongoing Case

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Washington D.C.: In a shocking revelation, United States officials, led by Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, alongside key figures such as Matthew G. Olsen, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Anne Milgram, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and James Smith, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have announced the filing of murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta.

The charges stem from his alleged participation in a foiled plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen in New York City. The unveiled charges are detailed in a Superseding Indictment, unsealed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

As the case unfolds, it is important to note that all facts are currently being treated as allegations until proven otherwise.

GUPTA, also known as “Nick,” has been implicated as a central figure in an international conspiracy that involves an Indian government employee, identified as “CC-1.”

According to the ongoing investigations, earlier this year, CC-1, working in collaboration with GUPTA and others in India and beyond, allegedly directed a plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City, referred to as the “Victim.” (Sikh Separatist Group Leader named by US media to be Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a dual US-Canadian citizen who is a member of a US-based Sikh activist group and a lawyer)

As per the documents filed, the Victim, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an attorney and political activist, leads a U.S.-based organization advocating for the secession of Punjab, a state in northern India with a significant Sikh population. Publicly calling for the establishment of a Sikh sovereign state called Khalistan, the Victim has been a vocal critic of the Indian government, leading to a ban on him and his separatist organization in India.

Gupta, residing in India, is described as an associate of CC-1 with reported involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking.

CC-1, an Indian government agency employee, allegedly directed the assassination plot from India, referring to himself as a Senior Field Officer” with responsibilities in “Security Management” and “Intelligence.” CC-1’s involvement also includes a background in India’s Central Reserve Police Force with training in “battle craft” and “weapons.”

The intricate details of the conspiracy involve CC-1 recruiting GUPTA in May 2023 to orchestrate the assassination of the Victim in the United States. At CC-1’s direction, GUPTA reached out to a confidential source working with the DEA, seeking assistance in contracting a hitman. This led to GUPTA’s introduction to a DEA undercover officer, to whom CC-1 agreed to pay $100,000 for the murder. An advance payment of $15,000 was arranged, delivered in Manhattan in June 2023.

Further alarming developments include CC-1 providing GUPTA with personal information about the Victim, including the Victim’s home address, phone numbers, and details about the Victim’s daily activities.

GUPTA, in turn, passed this information to the undercover officer. The plot’s progress was to be regularly updated to CC-1, including surveillance photographs of the Victim.

In an official statement, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, addressed concerns raised during recent discussions on India-US security cooperation. Bagchi acknowledged that the US side shared inputs related to a nexus involving organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists, and others. However, the statement did not specify the location of these activities.

The Ministry of External Affairs emphasized the shared concern between the two countries and underscored their commitment to taking necessary follow-up action. Bagchi stated, “During the course of recent discussions on India-US security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organised criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others. The inputs are a cause of concern for both countries and they decided to take necessary follow up action.”

As the situation unfolds, the Ministry of External Affairs aims to address the concerns raised by the US inputs, reaffirming the significance of the ongoing examination by relevant departments. The complexities surrounding this matter underscore the delicate nature of international security cooperation, with both nations actively engaging to ensure the safety and security of their citizens.

GUPTA, aged 52 and residing in India, now faces charges of murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, each carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. However, it is crucial to emphasize that these charges are currently considered allegations, and GUPTA is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

As U.S. Attorney Damian Williams expressed his gratitude for the collaborative efforts of law enforcement, it underscores the ongoing commitment to investigate, thwart, and prosecute individuals seeking to harm U.S. citizens, both domestically and abroad. The international dimension of this case highlights the need for relentless pursuit of justice in the face of lethal plotting emanating from overseas, as Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen emphasized.

As this intricate case continues to unfold, the charges in the Superseding Indictment serve as accusations, with the final judgment awaiting determination by a judge. The defendant, Nikhil Gupta, remains innocent until proven guilty, underscoring the presumption of innocence integral to the American legal system. The cooperation between the DEA, FBI, and other global law enforcement agencies underscores the gravity of the charges and the dedication to ensuring justice prevails in this complex international conspiracy.

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