India investigating allegations of alleged attempt on Pannun’s life

New York: India has set up a high-level inquiry after U.S. authorities raised concerns with New Delhi that its government may have had knowledge of a plot to kill a Sikh separatist leader on American soil, an Indian official said on Wednesday.

The U.S. side shared some information and India “takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on our national security interests as well, and relevant departments were already examining the issue,” a statement by External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said.

India is investigating the attempt on the life of the general counsel of the secessionist Sikhs for Justice Gurpatwant Pannun because the U.S. has presented “inputs” that are “legally presentable”, said Sanjay Kumar Verma, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa.

According to the U.S. prosecutors, an Indian government official directed a plot to assassinate a prominent Sikh separatist leader living in New York City. On Wednesday, they announced charges against a man they said was part of the thwarted conspiracy.

Officials became aware in the spring of the plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is considered a terrorist by the Indian government, as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration interceded and set up a sting, with an undercover agent posing as a hitman, after the conspirators recruited an international narcotics trafficker in the plot to kill the activist for $100,000.

No Indian government official was not charged nor identified by name in an indictment unsealed Wednesday, but was described as a “senior field officer” with responsibilities in security management and intelligence, said to have previously served in India’s Central Reserve Police Force.

Image courtesy of India Today

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