India received consular access on three occasions to Nikhil Gupta, who has been in a jail in the Czech capital of Prague following the US accusing him of involvement in a foiled plot to kill a Khalistani terrorist on American soil. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said India is extending necessary consular assistance to Mr Gupta.
“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,” Mr Bagchi said at his weekly media briefing in response to a question on the case involving Mr Gupta.
“We are extending necessary consular assistance as per requirement,” he said.
Mr Gupta, 52, has been accused by the US government of involvement in conspiring to kill US-based Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
His family approached the Supreme Court last week pleading for issuing direction to the central government to intervene in the extradition proceedings and ensuring a fair trial in the case.
“The family of this person has gone to our Supreme Court and this is a process that is going on in the Supreme Court. I do not think it will be appropriate for us to comment on issues like jurisdiction. We will wait for what the Supreme Court has to say,” Mr Bagchi said.
The US federal prosecutors have charged Mr Gupta with working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Pannun, who holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada.
India has already constituted a probe committee to investigate allegations. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson also said that India has taken the allegations seriously, adding “inputs” have been provided by the US side and a high-level inquiry committee has been constituted to look into all relevant aspects of the matter.
Mr Bagchi said this when asked about five serving Indian-American members of the US Congress cautioning that the case can cause significant damage to the India-US ties of New Delhi does not hold those behind the conspiracy to kill Pannun.
“As we have shared earlier, we take it seriously. The inputs have been provided by the US side and a high-level inquiry committee has been constituted to look into all relevant aspects of the matter,” Mr Bagchi said. “This fact has also been noted by these members of the Congress. I do not have any further update to it,” he added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray visited India last week against the backdrop of the charges by Washington in the case.
US Principal Deputy NSA Jonathan Finer too visited India earlier this month during which he held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and Deputy NSA Vikran Misri.
Following the visit, the White House said Finer conveyed to New Delhi the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible in the probe that India announced to investigate the alleged Indian link to the “lethal plotting”.
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