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Accused Nikhil Gupta Claims New Delhi's Interference

By Fnf correspondent | PUBLISHED: 07, Jun 2024, 17:46 pm IST | UPDATED: 07, Jun 2024, 17:46 pm IST

Accused Nikhil Gupta Claims New Delhi's Interference New Delhi: To stall the extradition of Nikhil Gupta to the United States, his lawyers have resorted to a new tactic. The attorneys of Gupta, who is in jail in Prague for allegedly being involved in the murder plot to kill Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, argued that the court must investigate whether Gupta was an agent for the Indian secret service and if he had the option to refuse the order to kill Pannun, reported the Indian Express.

 He was detained by Czech authorities on June 30 of the previous year on charges of attempting to hire a hitman to kill Pannun, who is designated as a terrorist under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and is a US citizen. Amid his current custody in Prague the United States has requested his extradition. 

According to the Indian Express’ report, Gupta’s legal counsellors suggested that he, as a “soldier sui generis,” was executing orders to eliminate a terrorist (Pannun), who posed a threat to India’s security. Gupta's lawyers argued that he might have been acting as an agent of the Indian secret service.  

According to the Indian Express’ report, a Czech court pronounced these claims absurd by noting that India is a democratic country that adheres to the rule of law and international treaties. The High Court underlined that India would not resort to such methods to resolve its issues, especially against a citizen of another state.  

Gupta was detained by Czech authorities at the request of the US government following which the case has been through the Czech Municipal Court, the High Court, and the Constitutional Court.  

The Municipal Court in Prague initially ruled in favour of the US extradition request on November 23, 2023. Meanwhile, the High Court in Prague upheld the Municipal Court’s decision on January 8, 2024. The High Court dismissed the argument that Gupta’s potential connections to the Indian secret services necessitated compliance with the murder order. The Constitutional Court, on May 22, 2024, dismissed Gupta’s challenge to the lower court decisions, paving the way for his extradition to the US. However, the final decision rests with the Czech Ministry of Justice. 



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