In yet another startling claim made by a US-based media, the news outlet reported that the Joe Biden administration sent two top intelligence officials to India to press for a probe into an alleged plot to assassinate a Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. Earlier last week, The Financial Times had reported citing US officials that America foiled India’s alleged plan to kill Pannun.
The report came on a day when India said that it had constituted a high-level enquiry committee to probe the allegations. Now, The Washington Post reported that US government prosecutors will be filing a superseding indictment against an Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, regarding a murder-for-hire plot targeting Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
The report claimed that the issue was raised by top US leadership including President Biden and CIA Director William J Burns with India demanding New Delhi to hold those accountable for it. The report claimed that the Drug Enforcement Administration of the US foiled the plot in June this year. In the same month, another Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead in Canada by unknown assailants.
The US believed that an Indian official was also part of the conspiracy to kill Pannun. “The discovery of a plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on US soil earlier this year so concerned the Biden administration that it dispatched its top two intelligence officials to New Delhi to demand the Indian government investigate and hold to account those responsible,” the report quoted a senior US official.
The US prosecutors claimed that Gupta coordinated a USD15,000 advance payment to a hitman’s associate to kill Pannun.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi today said the US side shared some ‘inputs’ pertaining to the nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists and that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on ‘our national security interests as well’ and that relevant departments were examining the issue. (With PTI inputs)