Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta is at the center of a criminal case brought forth by US federal prosecutors, accused of conspiring with an undisclosed Indian government official to orchestrate the assassination of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Khalistani terrorist with American and Canadian citizenship, within the United States. Gupta’s alleged attempt to hire a hitman took an unexpected turn when the hitman turned out to be an undercover agent from the US federal government. Currently detained in the Czech Republic, Gupta awaits extradition to the US and could face a maximum sentence of 20 years if convicted.
The intricate plot reportedly involved a high-ranking Indian official, referred to as “CC-1” in the indictment, who is accused of masterminding the assassination scheme against Pannun in New York City. The US Department of Justice claims that, starting in early May 2023, CC-1 and Gupta engaged in encrypted telephonic and electronic communications. During these exchanges, CC-1 allegedly urged Gupta to arrange Pannun’s murder, offering assistance in dismissing a criminal case against Gupta in India in return. Gupta purportedly agreed to carry out the assassination, with face-to-face meetings between Gupta and CC-1 in New Delhi advancing the plot.
On May 6, 2023, the indictment reveals that CC-1, posing as (CC-1 Alias), communicated with Gupta through an encrypted messaging app, disclosing the presence of a “target in New York” and another in “California.” Acting on CC-1’s directives, Gupta then sought the help of an individual he believed to be a criminal associate but was, in reality, a confidential informant cooperating with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This informant played a crucial role in thwarting the planned murder of Pannun in New York City.