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US Presses India for Updates in Gurpatwant Pannun Case, Seeks Accountability at Highest Levels: Deputy Secretary Kurt Campbell

June 26: The US has persistently sought updates from India regarding the investigation into the alleged foiled plot to assassinate Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, emphasizing the need for accountability, according to a senior Biden administration official on Wednesday.

US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated that the issue had been raised directly at the highest levels of the Indian government. Campbell made these remarks during a virtual media briefing, discussing his and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s recent visit to India.

“We have had constructive dialogue with India on this topic and I would say that they have been responsive to our concerns,” Campbell noted. “We’ve made clear that we seek accountability from the Government of India and we have consistently asked for updates on the Indian committee of inquiry’s investigations,” he added.

In November last year, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with collaborating with an Indian government employee in the failed plot to kill Pannun in New York. Pannun, who holds dual citizenship in the US and Canada, is wanted in India on terror charges. Gupta, arrested in the Czech Republic in June last year, was extradited to the US on June 14.

Following the US allegations, India established a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the inputs provided by the US. In April, The Washington Post identified an Indian official as allegedly plotting to assassinate Pannun on American soil.

When asked about reports suggesting the plot involved rogue elements, Campbell did not give a direct response but indicated that further information would likely emerge through law enforcement channels. He also mentioned that Indian authorities were considering potential institutional reforms in light of these allegations.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland, following Gupta’s extradition, stated, “This makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate attempts to silence or harm American citizens.” He added that Gupta would face justice in an American courtroom for his involvement in the alleged plot, directed by an Indian government employee, to target and assassinate a US citizen for supporting the Sikh separatist movement in India.

An indictment filed by US prosecutors in a federal court in New York alleged that an Indian government employee, identified as “CC-1,” directed Gupta to arrange the assassination of Pannun, paying $15,000 in advance to hire a hitman. Gupta, through his attorney, has denied the charges, claiming he has been “unfairly charged.”

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