An Indian citizen suspected by American authorities of conspiring to assassinate a Sikh separatist in New York has been extradited to the United States from the Czech Republic, Reuters reported on Monday.

A search on the Bureau of Prisons website reportedly showed that the Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, was lodged at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn. The news agency also quoted an unidentified source familiar with the matter who confirmed that the 52-year-old had been extradited and was detained in Brooklyn.

Gupta has been accused of conspiring with an Indian government official to kill Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

On May 22, the top court of the Czech Republic had allowed Gupta to be extradited to the United States. The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic said it did not find any circumstance that would lead to a violation of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms if he were to be extradited.

Czech authorities had arrested Gupta on June 30 at the request of the United States when he travelled from India to Prague.

On November 29, the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, announced that it had filed “murder-for-hire charges” against Gupta in connection with his alleged participation in a thwarted plot to assassinate Pannun.

It alleged that the 52-year-old had been recruited by an Indian government employee, who “directed a plot to assassinate on US soil an attorney and political activist who is a US citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City”.

Gupta’s family claimed that he was in Prague on a leisure and business exploration trip and was illegally detained when he exited the Czech capital city’s airport.

India’s investigation

On November 29, New Delhi had constituted a high-level committee to examine the allegations.

On March 20, Bloomberg reported that New Delhi’s investigation into the claims by Washington has found rogue officials, not authorised by the Indian government, had been involved in the alleged plot to assassinate Pannun.

At least one of the persons involved in the alleged plot does not work anymore for Research and Analysis Wing, India’s foreign intelligence agency, Bloomberg quoted unidentified officials as saying. However, the person was still working for the Indian government.

RAW officer’s alleged involvement

On April 29, The Washington Post reported that a Research and Analysis Wing officer named Vikram Yadav was involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Pannun and another Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was killed in Canada in June last year.

The report cited assessments of American intelligence agencies that the operation against Pannun had been cleared by Samant Goel, then the chief of India’s foreign intelligence agency.

India’s external affairs ministry described the report as “unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations”.