Czech court okays extradition of US murder plot accused

Friday, May 24, 2024

PRAGUE: The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected an Indian man’s petition against his extradition to the US over an alleged plot to assassinate an American citizen in New York.

Nikhil Gupta has been charged by the US government with trying to hire a hitman to assassinate US-based Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Mr Gupta is in jail in Prague. A final decision on his extradition will be taken by the country’s justice minister.

The charges against Mr Gupta carry up to 20 years in prison. In November 2023, US prosecutors charged Mr Gupta with a plot to kill at least four Sikh separatists in North America, including Mr Pannun. They said that Mr Gupta had paid $100,000 (£79,000) in cash to a hitman to assassinate Mr Pannun, a dual US-Canadian citizen, in New York.

But the hitman was actually an undercover federal agent, prosecutors said.

Mr Gupta was allegedly directed by an Indian government official who was not named or charged in the indictment. India has designated Mr Pannun a terrorist, an allegation he denies, claiming to be an activist who believes in the movement for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh homeland.