New Delhi has reached out to the family of the Indian suspect in the US Sikh murder plot

New Delhi has reached out to the family of the Indian suspect in the US Sikh murder plot

By Krishna Kaushik

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – New Delhi is in touch with the family of an Indian man who is accused of conspiring with an Indian government official to kill a Sikh separatist in the United States, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, reacting to a Reuters report . .

Nikhil Gupta, extradited to the United States this month after his arrest in Prague last year, was accused by US federal prosecutors of plotting unsuccessfully with an Indian official to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American citizen.

Gupta, 52, pleaded not guilty to murder-conspiracy charges in a Manhattan court on Monday and a source close to his family told Reuters on Thursday that he wanted New Delhi’s help to “get justice”.

“So far we have not received any request for consular access from Gupta, but his family has been in touch with us,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal. “We are in contact with the family members and are looking into the matter and what can be done at their request.”

The US government said it had foiled the alleged plot to kill Pannun and warned India of concerns about his involvement.

India designated Pannun as an “individual terrorist” but dissociated itself from the plot, saying it was against government policy. Pannun advocates a sovereign Sikh state in northern India.

The source, who declined to be named given the sensitive nature of a case that has diplomatic implications, said Gupta’s family had been unable to make direct contact with him since his extradition.

“Regardless of the allegations leveled against him, he is an Indian citizen and a patriot who deserves the rights and protections afforded by the government to its citizens.”

The source said the family believes Gupta “is a victim in this series of events” but that “he will get justice.”

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik and Shivam Patel; Editing by Alex Richardson)