Pannun Murder Plot: SC Junks Plea For Consular Access to Accused Nikhil Gupta

SC said it is a sensitive issue, and that it should respect the jurisdiction of foreign court

Pro-Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun

Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the plea for consular access to Nikhil Gupta, accused in the alleged murder plot against pro-Khalistani Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The Supreme Court said it is a sensitive issue and that it should respect the jurisdiction of foreign court.

A petition was filed on behalf of Nikhil Gupta, accused by the United States of conspiring to assassinate Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, for consular access and against his arrest and ongoing extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic.

The family of 52-year-old Nikhil Gupta had also last month approached the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs for help and intervention with Czech authorities. The apex court had back then also asked the family to move Czech court.

Nikhil Gupta is in detention in Prague since June for his alleged involvement in the foiled assassination plot against Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

On November 29, Nikhil Gupta, a 52-year-old Indian national, was charged by federal prosecutors in the US in connection with the allegations US authorities said Gupta colluded with an Indian government agency employee in the alleged plot.

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and former spokesperson Arindam Bagchi have earlier informed that Nikhil Gupta has been provided consular access thrice.

"An Indian national is currently in the custody of the Czech authorities pending a request for extradition to the US. We have received consular access at least on three occasions," Bagchi said last month, adding that necessary consular assistance as per requirement is being extended.

"A member of this individual's family has filed a petition in the Honorable Supreme Court, and since the matter is currently sub-judice, it would not be appropriate to comment on it at this time. So you asked about extradition or what is happening in the Supreme Court," Bagchi had said in a press briefing.