NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Nikhil Gupta, a 52-year-old Indian citizen, accused by the US of plotting the assassination of Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, has been moved from a high-security prison in Prague to US jurisdiction. The transfer took place just before the filing of an indictment in a New York court, as reported by The Indian Express.

Gupta’s arrest occurred on June 30 at Prague airport, where Czech authorities, acting on a US court order, detained him for suspected involvement in drug trafficking. The Indian embassy in Prague was promptly informed, following standard procedures for consular assistance, yet details of Gupta’s alleged offenses were not disclosed during this stage.

Surprisingly, Gupta did not seek legal assistance from the Indian embassy but instead secured his own legal counsel in Prague. Avril Haines, the US Director of National Intelligence, visited India in October, sharing crucial information that later formed the basis of the US indictment.

The indictment, publicly available now, charges Gupta with ‘murder for hire’ and ‘conspiracy’ in a failed plot to kill a Sikh activist in New York. The target, identified as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, holds US and Canadian citizenship and is associated with the Khalistan advocacy group Sikhs for Justice.

The extradition process, in accordance with the US-Czech extradition treaty, involved collaboration between the FBI’s Prague Country Office, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, and the Czech Republic’s National Drug Headquarters. Simultaneously, the Indian government, after carefully assessing the evidence, initiated its own investigation.

Gupta has appealed the Prague court’s extradition order, with the case now heading to the High Court. The indictment also implicates an unnamed Indian government official, alleged to be Gupta’s co-conspirator, linking them to the assassination of Canadian Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

While Gupta’s extradition is under legal scrutiny, the US prosecutors claim he was recruited by the Indian official in May, with assurances that his legal issues in Gujarat had been resolved. The indictment reveals Gupta’s alleged involvement in trafficking drugs and weapons, detailing his journey from India to the Czech Republic.

The legal proceedings, initiated by US authorities in August 2023, have undergone a thorough review by Czech officials. The decision on the admissibility of the extradition is currently awaiting resolution at the High Court, with Gupta’s defense asserting his rights through the legal process.

This development follows heightened tensions between India and Canada over accusations of India’s involvement in Nijjar’s killing.