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Massive embarrassment for USA in Khalistani Pannun ‘Killing Plot’ Case: Russia backs India, Czech Republic stays extradition of Indian National Nikhil Gupta

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Russian Foreign Ministry has challenged US claims of Indian involvement in the foiled assassination plot against Khalistan terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, citing lack of solid evidence from Washington.

As per the ANI news agency, the Russian Foreign Ministry released an official statement on the Pannun case on Wednesday.

Maria Zakharova, an official spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry, said, “According to the information we have, Washington has not yet provided any reliable evidence of the involvement of Indian citizens in the preparation of the murder of a certain GS Pannun. Speculation on this topic in the absence of evidence is unacceptable”.

A report by the US daily, The Washington Post, had claimed that India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) tried to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US. However, India rejected the allegations.

The Russian foreign ministry said that the US has no understanding of the historical context of the development of the Indian state and added that it was “disrespecting India as a state”.

“Regular unfounded accusations by the United States against New Delhi (we see that they groundlessly accuse not only India but also many other states) of violating religious freedoms are a reflection of the United States’ misunderstanding of the national mentality, the historical context of the development of the Indian state and disrespect for India as a state. I am sure that this also comes from the neocolonial mentality, the mentality of the colonial period, the period of the slave trade, and imperialism,” she said.

Describing it as an “unwarranted and unsubstantiated” imputation on a “serious matter” that is under investigation, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the US media report was “speculative and irresponsible”.

India has designated Gurpatwant Singh Pannun as a terrorist. He holds dual citizenship in America and Canada.

Last November, the US Justice Department unsealed an indictment against an Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun.

In a significant development, the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic has halted the extradition of Indian national Nikhil Gupta to the United States, where he faces charges of conspiring to assassinate Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

This interim decision, dated 30 January 2024, comes after Gupta contested earlier rulings by lower courts that had approved his extradition.

The highest court in the Czech Republic reasoned that extraditing Gupta could cause him disproportionately greater harm than any benefit derived from such an action, which they noted would be irreversible if later found unjustified.

The court emphasised the need to thoroughly review the case, asserting the importance of safeguarding Gupta’s fundamental rights until a final decision is made.

Markéta Andrová, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Justice, was quoted as saying that the “the Minister of Justice cannot decide on extradition or refusal until the Constitutional Court decides on the merits of the complaint filed by Nikhil Gupta”.

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