Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta, who was detained in Prague in June, denies charges of plotting to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader in New York. It was written by The Washington Post (WP), citing court records.
Gupta is a law-abiding businessman who has been caught in the ‘crossfire’ between the United States and the Indian government,” lawyer Rohini Musa told India’s Supreme Court, according to WP. She also complained that her client received bad legal advice from a lawyer appointed by the Czech authorities and allegedly did so “under the undue influence” of US authorities during the initial phase of his detention.
New York prosecutors said in November that Gupta was accused of orchestrating the assassination of an American citizen of Indian origin who publicly advocated for the creation of a sovereign Sikh state. The assassination attempt was foiled. According to US authorities, Gupta was hired by an unnamed Indian government employee who was in charge of security and intelligence affairs.
According to the prosecutor, the Czech authorities detained Gupta on June 30 on the basis of the US-Czech extradition treaty. The American prosecutor’s office did not specify who was the target of the attack. But US officials said it was Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American-Canadian citizen who is considered a terrorist by the Indian government. At the end of November, the Prague Municipal Court ruled that the man’s extradition was admissible. Gupta appealed against the decision.
According to The Washington Post, his lawyer describes him as a businessman who was traveling to the Czech Republic “for tourism and to explore a new market for his business” when he was detained at the Prague airport and interrogated for three hours in a black SUV. Although he is a “devout” Hindu and a vegetarian, he was allegedly offered only “non-vegetarian food, including beef and pork” for ten to eleven days in Czech custody.
The spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Justice, Vladimír Řepka, said according to the American newspaper, that the department has no information and has not received a complaint from Gupta or his lawyers regarding inappropriate food.
Gupta’s family appealed to India’s Supreme Court on his behalf, asking the Indian government to prevent his extradition from the Czech Republic to the United States. According to the family, Gupta was illegally detained in Prague and his life is in danger. According to WP, Repka said in an email that Indian courts have no jurisdiction over the matter. The final decision on whether Gupta will be extradited rests with the country’s justice minister, WP concluded.