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Gurpatwant Singh Pannun murder bid: Senior US official Jon Finer discusses investigative panel for foiled plot in India

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun murder bid: White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer on December 4 led a US delegation to New Delhi. According to a report in Reuters, he discussed forming an investigative panel to probe an alleged foiled plot to assassinate Khalistani separatist and leader of the banned Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) outfit Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

“Mr. Finer acknowledged India’s establishment of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate lethal plotting in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible,” the White House said in a statement, Reuters reported.

The meeting in New Delhi came against the backdrop of a case filed in a US court by American prosecutors against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a plot to kill a Khalistani leader on American soil.

The MEA said Finer called on NSA Doval and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and that he will meet Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.

It is understood that the issue figured in Finer’s meetings with the Indian officials, but there is no official confirmation of it.

“Good to meet Principal Deputy NSA of the US Jon Finer this afternoon. Useful exchange of views on the global situation. Discussed taking our bilateral cooperation forward,” Jaishankar said on X.

 

India on Thursday had described as a “matter of concern” the US linking the Indian official to a man charged with conspiring to kill Pannun, and asserted that follow-up action will be taken based on findings of a panel investigating the allegations. India has already constituted a team to investigate the allegations relating to the foiled plot.

On Wednesday, US federal prosecutors charged Nikhil Gupta, 52, of working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Pannun. US prosecutors informed a Manhattan court that authorities in the Czech Republic arrested and detained Gupta.

Pannun is a Canadian and American citizen who works as the general counsel of Sikhs for Justice. The pro-Khalistan lawyer has been a key organizer of nonbinding referendums that seek a separate Sikh state – held in countries with large Indian diasporas such as Canada, the UK, and Australia. An American phase of the voting will begin at the end of January 2024 in San Francisco, he revealed in a missive to Bloomberg on Thursday.

Pannun was born in Khankot village on the outskirts of Amritsar — the son of a former Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board employee named Mahinder Singh. He is believed to have graduated from Punjab University in the 1990s and founded the SFJ in 2007. The New York-based organisation advocates for an independent Sikh state called Khalistan to be carved out of India.

-With agency inputs

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Updated: 05 Dec 2023, 06:47 AM IST

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