According to court documents, Indian national Nikhil Gupta is being subjected to human rights violations, including prolonged solitary confinement, while in custody in the Czech Republic. He is being accused by federal prosecutors of engaging in a murder-for-hire plot to kill a Khalistani terrorist on American soil.
Additionally, according to court records, Gupta last visited the US in 2017.
Federal prosecutors in this country charged 52-year-old Gupta in an indictment that was made public in November of last year with collaborating with an Indian government employee in the thwarted attempt to assassinate dual US and Canadian citizen Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on US soil.
On June 30, 2023, Gupta was detained in Prague, Czech Republic, and is still detained there. His extradition to the US is being sought by the US government.
In a “Motion to Compel Production of Discovery,” his lawyer Jeff Chabrowe asked the court to order federal prosecutors to produce “the defence materials relevant to its ability to defend the instant charges” on January 4 in the US District Court, Southern District of New York. His legal representative claimed in the motion that Gupta, an Indian national, “was last in the United States in 2017.”
Gupta is not permitted consular access, his family has reportedly told the media that they have “limited access” to him, and he “faces basic human rights violations in custody in Prague, including extended solitary confinement,” according to the application. On his behalf, the Czech Supreme Court has received a habeas corpus petition.” The government was given three days by US District Judge Victor Marrero on January 8 to reply to the motion that Gupta’s lawyer had filed. The government stated in a response submitted to the district court on Wednesday that Gupta’s request for discovery materials ought to be turned down.
“The government respectfully submits this letter in opposition to defendant Nikhil Gupta’s motion to compel discovery during the pendency of his extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic,” federal prosecutors said.
They declared that “the government is prepared to produce discovery promptly upon the defendant’s appearance in this District and arraignment on this case,” in accordance with federal rules of criminal procedure. But before then, the defendant claims he has no right to discovery and that the court has no valid reason to grant it.” US Attorney Damian Williams responded on behalf of the government, stating that Gupta has not yet established any legal claim or basis for discovery. Like any other criminal defendant, the government is prepared to give him discovery as soon as he shows up and is arraigned in this District. Williams stated that his motion to compel discovery ought to be rejected.
In its response, the US government points out that the charges are contained in a 15-page superseding indictment along with more factual information about the murder-for-hire scheme and Gupta’s actions to further it.
As stated in the superseding indictment, Gupta arranged for a colleague to pay a US law enforcement undercover agent in Manhattan an initial sum of USD 15,000 in cash in order to facilitate the murder.
Over several weeks, Gupta routinely spoke with the undercover agent and a confidential US law enforcement source, whom Gupta suspected of being a criminal associate, about the alleged plot, “including on video calls in which the defendant personally appeared.”