January 28, 2024
Murder-for-hire schemes are very complicated and typically transpire across international borders. Due to these facts, it’s often very difficult to track down perpetrators who plot and carry out these violent schemes. The U.S. has persistently pursued one such culprit, Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national, after he allegedly conspired to kill an activist in the U.S.
Gupta, a resident of Delhi, was reportedly instructed by an Indian government official to “take care of” a lawyer and Khalistani activist who was working in New York. In response to the requests, Gupta allegedly hired a hitman to pull off the murder. What Gupta didn’t know, though, was that the hitman he ultimately hired was actually an undercover officer.
The target, according to U.S. investigators, was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The legal activist works as the general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, which is a Khalistani group currently banned by India.
Gupta was safe from prosecution while he remained in India, but he traveled out of the country in June of 2023. When Gupta left on a flight from India to the Czech Republic, he was promptly arrested right at the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel airport when he arrived. This arrest was based on an arrest warrant issued by US authorities on June 13. After learning about the arrest, the US sent a formal extradition request to the Czech Republic in August.
From there, Gupta was subject to hearings regarding the situation. The High Court reviewed the case and ruled that Gupta could be extradited to the US based on the circumstances and facts. If Gupta does not choose to appeal the ruling, then a final decision on the extradition will be made by the justice minister.
Gupta does still have the right to take the extradition case to the Supreme Court, though. He has up to three months to ask for a case review or until the Minister of Justice makes a final decision on the issue.
Extradition: What Are Your Rights? What Should You Know?
From the story above, it’s clear that the Indian government was not willing to pursue charges against the suspect despite the illegal behaviors he committed. In fact, based on the facts of the case, it sounds like some Indian government officials may have participated in the schemes. Murder and murder-for-hire plots are illegal in both the United States and India, so under current extradition treaties, a suspected murderer would typically be extradited to the requesting country.
In this instance, however, it’s clear that politics played a massive role and India was likely protecting the suspect.
When individuals are arrested in a foreign country, they’ll face court hearings or the judicial authority in that foreign country. The judicial authority will either approve or deny the extradition request based on the facts of the case and any existing treaties between the involved countries. If approved, then the executive authority will need to surrender the wanted person to the requesting country.
Have you been accused of a crime in a foreign country? Are you facing extradition? If so, then schedule a call with our global attorneys now to learn more about your rights and options.