US foiled plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu in America: Report | India News


The US thwarted a conspiracy to assassinate Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu on American soil and issued a warning to India over concerns it was involved in the plot, the Financial Times has reported citing sources.

This came two months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Canadian security agencies were probing “credible allegations” about a potential link between Indian government agents and the killing of a Canada-based Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver in June.

“Washington shared details of the Pannu case with a wider group of allies after Trudeau went public with details of the Vancouver killing, the combination of which sparked concern among allies about a possible pattern of behaviour,” the FT report said.

Pannu, who is a dual-citizen of the US and Canada and is the general counsel for a pro-Khalistan separatist group Sikhs for Justice, has been issuing threats to Indian envoys and most recently warned people from flying on Air India — reminiscent of the Kanishka bombing tragedy which killed more than 300 people, most of them Canadian citizens.

The FT report said that the US protest was issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington in June this year.

Festive offer

Officials did not say to FT whether the protest to New Delhi led the plotters to abandon their plan, or whether the FBI intervened and foiled a scheme already in motion.

Separate from the diplomatic warning, US federal prosecutors have filed a sealed indictment against at least one alleged perpetrator of the plot in a New York district court, FT said, quoting sources.

“The US justice department is debating whether to unseal the indictment and make the allegations public or wait until Canada finishes its investigation into Nijjar’s murder. Further complicating the case, one person charged in the indictment is believed to have left the US, according to people familiar with the proceedings” the report said.

The US Justice Department and FBI declined to comment to FT.

According to the FT, the National Security Council said the US does “not comment on ongoing law enforcement matters or private diplomatic discussions with our partners”. It added, “Upholding the safety and security of US citizens is paramount”, said the report.

At the time of filing this report, there was no official comment from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The FT’s revelation comes on a day — when almost two months after it suspended Indian visa services in Canada over Trudeau’s allegation of a potential Indian link to the Nijjer killing, India resumed e-visa services for Canadian nationals, sources said on Wednesday.

In October, India had restored visa services in some categories including entry, business, medical, and conference visas.

The latest visa move is being seen as a step towards de-escalation by New Delhi after India had asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in India following the diplomatic spat.

Canada had also announced last month that it had pulled out 41 diplomats from India and halted its visa and consular services in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bengaluru, and that these services would now be available only at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.

The Indian move to resume visa services is being seen as a potential “door-opener” though Trudeau and his government have not withdrawn his allegation, dismissed by Delhi as “absurd” and “motivated”.

The revelations and the resumption of visa services also come on a day when India is hosting the virtual G20 summit, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While Canadian PM Trudeau is likely to attend, all eyes are on whether US President Joe Biden will attend or not—reports have suggested that he may not due to the Thanksgiving holidays. Also, Chinese President Xi Jinping will again give it a miss, and instead, Chinese Premier Li Qiang is expected to attend, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is also likely to attend.


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