U.S. charges Indian citizen in alleged Sikh assassination plot
The US Justice Department announced charges on Wednesday against an Indian national for orchestrating an unsuccessful plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on US soil. The suspect is accused of acting on behalf of an Indian government official, Paralel.Az reports citing DW.
The announcement comes just weeks after Canada linked the Indian government to the assassination of a Sikh activist on its soil, prompting a diplomatic row between the two countries.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said the Indian government employee linked to the plot held responsibilities such as security and intelligence. Prosecutors did not name the Indian official or the target of the assassination plot.
"The defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a US citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs," Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said in a statement.
The Indian government official is said to have directed the assassination plot from India, working with the US suspect, named Nikhil G., and others based around the world, the US government said.
Prosecutors allege that Nikhil G. reached out to someone he believed was a criminal associate to help hire a hitman for the assassination. But the associate he reached out to was an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
The 52-year-old suspect was arrested by Czech authorities in June and is awaiting extradition to the US.
He faces two counts of murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire conspiracy, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years if convicted.