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Updated January 11th, 2024 at 09:15 IST

Pannun murder plot: US refuses defence material to Nikhil Gupta till appearance in NY court

Indian national Nikhil Gupta, 52, was charged by US prosecutors for working with an Indian govt employee in the foiled plot to kill Khalistani separatist Pannun

Apoorva Shukla
Pannun
Leader of banned outfit SFJ, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun | Image:X/@SortedEagle
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New York: The United States government has refused to provide the defence materials to Indian national Nikhil Gupta, saying it will provide the information only upon his appearance in a New York court and arraignment in the case. Nikhil Gupta has been detained in a Czech prison on murder-for-hire charges in a foiled assassination attempt on a Khalistani extremist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The United States is currently seeking Gupta's extradition from the Czech Republic. 

Gupta’s attorney filed a ‘Motion to Compel Production of Discovery’ on January 4 in the US District Court, Southern District of New York requesting the Court to direct federal prosecutors to provide “the defence materials relevant to its ability to defend the instant charges.” US District Judge Victor Marrero had on January 8 given the government three days’ time to respond to the motion filed by Gupta’s attorney. The government, in its reply filed with the district court Wednesday, said Gupta’s motion asking for discovery material should be denied.

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“The government respectfully submits this letter in opposition to defendant Nikhil Gupta’s motion to compel discovery during the pendency of his extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic,” federal prosecutors said.

They said that consistent with federal rules of criminal procedure, “the government is prepared to produce discovery promptly upon the defendant’s appearance in this District and arraignment on this case. Before then, however, the defendant is not entitled to discovery, and he identifies no good reason for the Court to order it.” In the government’s response, US Attorney Damian Williams said that Gupta has identified no legal entitlement or justification for discovery at this time.

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“The government stands ready to provide discovery to him, like any other criminal defendant, promptly upon his appearance and arraignment in this District. His motion to compel discovery should be denied,” Williams said.

Nikhil Gupta accused of plotting to kill Pannun 

Indian national Nikhil Gupta, 52, was charged by federal prosecutors for working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who holds dual US and Canadian citizenships, on American soil.

Nikhil Gupta was arrested in Prague, the Czech Republic on June 30, 2023 and is being held there currently. While the US government is seeking his extradition to America, India has already constituted a probe committee to investigate the allegations. 

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(With PTI inputs) 

 

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Published January 11th, 2024 at 09:15 IST

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