The involvement of an Indian official in a plot to kill a Khalistan separatist leader, as alleged by the US, is a matter of concern and contrary to government policy, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said.

“As regards the case against an individual (Nikhil Gupta) that has been filed in a US court, allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said and, let me reiterate, this is also contrary to government policy,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at a briefing on Thursday.

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The US Department of Justice, on Wednesday, issued a statement alleging a foiled plot from India to murder a US-based Sikh separatist. “According to court documents, earlier this year, an Indian government employee (CC-1), working together with others, including Gupta, in India and elsewhere, directed a plot to assassinate on US soil an attorney and political activist who is a US citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City (the victim),” the statement read

Gupta is an Indian national residing in India, is an associate of CC-1, and has described his involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking in his communications with CC-1 and others, the statement added.

Khalistan separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is a dual citizen of the US and Canada, was allegedly the target of the plot. 

Responding to the allegations, Bagchi said such inputs are taken seriously by the government and there will be follow-up action based on the findings of the high-level enquiry committee probing the issue.

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 “As we have said earlier, during the course of discussion with the US on the bilateral security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to the nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists. We take such inputs very seriously and a high-level enquiry committee has been established to look into all aspects of the matter. Necessary follow-up action will be taken on the findings of the committee. We cannot share any further information regarding such security matters,” Bagchi said.

India is also in the midst of a diplomatic row with Canada following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations earlier this year of potential involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. New Delhi had said no relevant information had been provided by the Canadian government on the Nijjar investigation.