regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

SC refuses plea of Indian detained in Czech Republic for foiled plot to kill Sikh separatist in US

US government had in November brought murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta, saying he had been recruited by 'Indian government agent CC-1' to assassinate Pannun

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 05.01.24, 06:38 AM
The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court File picture

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain an Indian national’s petition challenging his imminent extradition proceedings by the Czech Republic, as sought by the US, on the charge of plotting to kill Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in America.

The bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta asked the petitioner to approach the Centre since he had already been granted consular access twice.


The US government had in November brought murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta, saying he had been recruited by an “Indian government agent CC-1” to assassinate Pannun. The petitioner’s family, which has moved the petition on his behalf, has chosen not to reveal his identity.

On Thursday, the apex court refused to allow senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, appearing for the petitioner, to raise any plea against the Czech court since courts across the world are bound by the principle of the comity of nations.

“We will not allow you to speak anything about the foreign court…. It is a sensitive matter and it is for the central government to take a call and it should also respect the jurisdiction of the foreign court, since the matter is pending there,” Justice Khanna told Sundaram.

The court turned down Sundaram’s plea that sought its intervention on the ground that his client was being detained illegally in solitary confinement and that his fundamental rights had been violated.

“There is nothing much we can do. You are entitled to consular access under the Vienna Convention, which you have already got twice,” the bench remarked.

When the senior counsel said he would make a representation to the government and sought a court direction that it be considered by the Centre, the bench said: “It is for the central government to decide whether to interfere or not.”

It then dismissed the petition.

The petition, filed under Article 32 for enforcement of the Indian national’s fundamental rights, alleges the Czech authorities have forced the petitioner to eat beef and pork despite his being “a devout Hindu and vegetarian”.

Filed through advocate Rohini Musa, the petition says the Indian national is a law-abiding middle-class businessman who had travelled to the Czech Republic for leisure and business exploration.

It alleges he was illegally detained at Prague airport on June 30 and that his subsequent arrest was marked by irregularities.

The petition says that after November 29, documents were presented from a US district court that “shifts the narrative away from the petitioner and implicates an alleged Indian government employee, referred to as ‘CC-1’”.

“…This marks a significant departure from the initial charges and transforms the case into a diplomatic and political quagmire between India and the United States,” the petition says.

“The petitioner positions himself as a hapless victim caught in the crossfire, urging the court’s intervention to navigate this intricate web of international relations and secure his rights.”

Follow us on: