Indian national Nikhil Gupta, suspected by American authorities of conspiring to assassinate a Sikh separatist in New York, pleaded not guilty at a court in the United States on Monday, reported PTI.

The 52-year-old appeared in the federal court after being extradited from the Czech Republic on Friday. Czech authorities had arrested Gupta on June 30 at the request of the United States when he travelled from India to Prague.

Gupta is now lodged at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

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

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. Gupta paid $1,00,000 in cash to a hitman to assassinate Pannun, the US prosecutors said. The hitman turned out to be an undercover federal agent.

On Monday, the prosecutors alleged that Gupta was directed by an unidentified Indian government official to carry out the killing. They also asked that Gupta be held in a detention centre until his trial.

Gupta’s lawyer, Jeff Chabrowe, said that he would file a bail application at a later date, reported the BBC. He also told the court that Gupta was not provided a vegetarian meal since he arrived on Friday.

Chabrowe also demanded that his client be allowed to pray while in detention, reported the BBC. Judge James Cott of the Manhattan Federal Court asked Chabrowe to speak to him again on Tuesday if the issues had not been resolved.

After the hearing on Monday, Chabrowe told reporters that the case is “a complex matter for both India and the US”, reported PTI.

“It is extremely important that we refrain from rushing to conclusions so early in the process,” he said. “Background and details will develop that may cast government allegations into an entirely new light.”

While India has denied its involvement in the case, it had set up a high-level investigation into the allegations in November.

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.