U.S. prosecutors allege assassination plot of Sikh separatist directed by Indian government employee (The Washington Post )

An Indian government employee who described himself as a “senior field officer” responsible for intelligence ordered the assassination of a Sikh separatist in New York City in May, U.S. prosecutors alleged Wednesday. The court filing heightens scrutiny of India’s spy services following similar allegations made by Canadian authorities in September.

The government employee, who was not named in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hit man to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by U.S. authorities, according to prosecutors.

The court filing did not name the victim, but senior Biden administration officials say the target was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, general counsel for the New York-based Sikhs for Justice, a group that seeks to carve from India an independent Sikh state called Khalistan.

The scheme was foiled in June by the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

Gupta is charged with murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. He was arrested in the Czech Republic in late June pending extradition to the United States.

The alleged link between the Indian government and the assassination attempt on U.S. soil threatens to strain ties between the two countries and prompted the Biden administration to dispatch its top two intelligence officials to New Delhi to demand the Indian government investigate and hold to account those responsible, senior administration officials said.

This story was originally published in washingtonpost.com. Read the full story here .

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