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U.S. says alleged murder plotter was directed by India and mentioned B.C. killing

BY The Canadian Press, Nov 29, 2023 7:23 PM - REPORT AN ERROR

American prosecutors say a man allegedly involved in a murder plot against a Sikh activist on U.S. soil also discussed the killing of Canadian Hardeep Singh Nijjar ( Photo :The Canadian Press)

American prosecutors say a man allegedly involved in a murder plot against a Sikh activist on U.S. soil also discussed the killing of Canadian Hardeep Singh Nijjar, just hours after Nijjar was gunned down outside a British Columbia temple.

The murder-for-hire indictment against Nikhil Gupta, 52, says he told an undercover officer who he thought was a hit man that Nijjar "was also the target," and because he was dead, there was "no need to wait" on the next killing.The indictment says Gupta was recruited by an Indian government employee to orchestrate the killing of the activist, who isn't named in the document, but has previously been identified by U.S. officials as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

The indictment unsealed in Manhattan Federal Court says Gupta told an undercover officer the day after Nijjar's murder in Surrey, B.C., last June that "we have so many targets."It says the plot was directed by an Indian government employee who has described himself as a "senior field officer" with responsibilities in "security management" and "intelligence."Pannun, a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, says in a statement the Indian government wants to kill him because of his role organizing unofficial referendums on Sikh independence, saying it had extended overseas "its policy of violently crushing" the movement. Both Pannun and Nijjar were prominent members of Sikhs for Justice, the group organizing the votes.

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