Gurpatwant Pannun murder plot | US reacts after Washington Post report: ‘We continue to…’

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MAY 1, 2024

Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun

The United States said it was “regularly working” with the Indian government in its investigation into the allegations related to the plot to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

The remarks by US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel came after The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, named a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer in connection with the alleged plot to kill Pannun on American soil last year.

“We continue to expect accountability from the Government of India based on the results of the Indian inquiry committee’s work, and we are regularly working with them and enquiring for additional updates. We’ll also continue to raise our concerns directly with the Indian Government at senior levels, but beyond that, I’m not going to parse into this further and will defer to the Department of Justice,” Vedant Patel said during a media briefing.

What did the Washington Post’s report say?

The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, named a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer – Vikram Yadav – in connection with the alleged plot to kill Pannun on American soil last year. The report claimed that Yadav had enlisted a “hit team” to carry out the operation, marking Pannun as a “priority” target. According to the report, Yadav had transmitted Pannun’s contact information, including his New York address, to the would-be assassins.

The new claims come against the backdrop of the US claiming that India was allegedly responsible for a foiled assassination attempt on Pannun in November 2022. During that time, the US issued a “stern” warning to India and sought a response to the issue.

Last year, the US federal prosecutors had also charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with working with an Indian government employee in the alleged plot to kill Pannun. Following the US’ charges, Gupta was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2023. The indictment detailed Gupta’s agreement to pay $100,000 for Pannun’s assassination, with an initial payment of $15,000 made on June 9, 2023.

India’s sharp response to the Washington Post’s report

India on Tuesday sharply reacted to The Washington Post‘s report on the alleged assassination plot of Pannun, calling it “unwarranted” and “unsubstantiated”.

“There is an ongoing investigation of the High-Level Committee set up by the Government of India to look into the security concerns shared by the US government on networks of organised criminals, terrorists and others. Speculative and irresponsible comments on it are not helpful,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.


Courtesy: Hindustan Times / PTI