News Bulletin
Daily News Portal

Nikhil Gupta, accused in ‘murder plot’ against Pannun, extradited to US last week: Czech


Indian national Nikhil Gupta, who is accused by the US of being involved in a murder-for-hire plot against Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, was extradited from the Czech Republic on June 14. Officials at the Czech Ministry of Justice told The Indian Express the decision to extradite Gupta was taken on June 3.

The development comes at a time when US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is visiting New Delhi for the annual initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (CET) dialogue with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Markéta Andrová, spokesperson of the Czech Ministry of Justice, told the Express, “After the final and binding decision of the Municipal Court in Prague dated November 23, 2023, in conjunction with the decision of the High Court in Prague dated January 8, 2024, regarding the admissibility of the extradition of Nikhil Gupta for criminal prosecution to the United States of America, the Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic authorized the extradition of Nikhil Gupta to the United States of America by a decision dated June 3, 2024”.

As per reports, Gupta, 52, is currently lodged at the federal Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York and is likely to be produced in court on Monday.

The extradition to the US was authorised for criminal prosecution on suspicion of committing the crime of conspiracy to commit a murder for hire with the intent to cause death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, § 1958(a), and the crime of murder for hire with the intent to cause death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, § 1958(a), Androva said, adding “the extradition was carried out on Friday, June 14, 2024, at Prague-Ruzyně Airport”.

Festive offer

On May 22, the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic dismissed Gupta’s challenge to the decisions of the Municipal Court in Prague dated November 23, 2023, and the High Court in Prague dated January 8, 2024, both of which had ruled positively on the admissibility of the US request for his extradition. This had paved the way for Gupta’s extradition, who had in January this year, approached the top court arguing that the two lower courts had not examined the political nature of the act that he was accused of.

Nikhil Gupta was arrested in the Czech Republic last year at the request of the US government on charges of being involved in a plot to assassinate Pannun, an American citizen, in New York.

A day after the Constitutional Court rejected Gupta’s plea, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Justice told the Express that his extradition will now be decided “expeditiously, without undue delay”. The matter was referred to the Czech Minister of Justice for a final call. “All criminal cases in which the person concerned is held in custody, including cases of extradition to a foreign country, shall be dealt with most expeditiously without undue delay,” said Andrová.

Andrová said that “the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint lodged by Nikhil Gupta as prima facie unfounded”. It decided the lower courts had thoroughly examined the extradition documents provided by the US authorities and based their decisions on sufficient evidence.

Initially, the Czech Republic’s top court stayed the lower courts’ decisions permitting the extradition of Gupta, citing no significant harm to the public interest if this action is delayed. In its interim decision dated January 30, 2024, the Constitutional Court in Prague said Gupta’s extradition to the US for criminal prosecution would result in disproportionately greater harm to him than anyone else. The court also emphasised that this action would be irreversible, even if it upholds Gupta’s challenge.





Read More:Nikhil Gupta, accused in ‘murder plot’ against Pannun, extradited to US last week: Czech