Five Indian American lawmakers ask India to investigate Pannun assassination plot

Rep Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Shri Thanedar, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Ami Bera, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi jointly stated that the tied between US and India could suffer damage if the Pannun assassination plot is not duly addressed

Clockwise from left – Rep Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Shri Thanedar, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi / Credit – X

Indian American lawmakers have commented on the “deeply concerning” allegations against the involvement of two Indian nationals in the busted assassination plot of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. An individual called Nikhil Gupta and an Indian government officer identified as “CC-1” were named in an indictment by the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently, for planning to assassinate Khalistani supporter Pannun on American soil. Pannun holds double citizenship in the U.S. and Canada.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Ro Khanna, and Rep. Shri Thanedar issued a joint statement warning of damage to US-India ties if the matter is not duly addressed. “It is critical that the Indian government fully investigate this matter, hold those involved accountable, and provide assurances that this will never happen again,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal posted on X, alongside sharing a screenshot of the joint statement.

The lawmakers in a joint statement said, “We appreciate the Administration providing us a classified briefing on the Department of Justice’s indictment of Nikhil Gupta, which alleges that an Indian government official engaged in a murder-for-hire plot of an American citizen. As Members of Congress, the safety and well-being of our constituents is our most important priority.”

It further stated, “The allegations made in the indictment are deeply concerning. We welcome the Government of India’s announcement of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the murder plot and it is critical that India fully investigate, hold those responsible, including Indian government officials, accountable, and provide assurances that this will not happen again.”

The lawmakers said that the ties between both countries have made a meaningful impact on the lives of the people residing in both countries however, “the actions outlined in the indictment could, if not appropriately addressed, cause significant damage to this very consequential partnership.”

On November 29, the DOJ charged Gupta in connection with the foiled plot to assassinate Pannun. The 52-year-old was charged with murder-for-hire which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, which has a maximum sentence of a 10-year jail term.

An unidentified family member of Gupta approached the Supreme Court in India alleging that the former was taken into custody without any arrest warrant, forced to consume beef and pork during his detention in custody, which the relative says was a violation of his religious beliefs. Additionally, Gupta was allegedly denied consular access and the right to seek legal representation, and right to contact his family in India. However, the bench of justices refused to step in stating it was a “sensitive matter” for the ministry to get involved in, as per a report.