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FBI chief set to visit next week, NIA to discuss evidence against Pannun | India News

DAYS AFTER US federal prosecutors accused an Indian citizen and an unnamed Indian official of being involved in a foiled plot to assassinate Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher A Wray is scheduled to visit India next week.

According to sources, Wray, who will be here on December 11-12, is expected to take up three key issues with National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Dinkar Gupta: Khalistan terrorism, gangster nexus, and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

This is Wray’s first visit to India since taking charge in 2017, and the first visit by an FBI director in 12 years.

“Preparations have started and the NIA will discuss a range of issues including cases and evidence against designated ‘individual terrorist’ Pannun, founder of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) outfit; US-based gangster Darmanjot Singh Kahlon, who supplied weapons to eliminate popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala; and Khalistan supporters who allegedly vandalised the Indian Consulate in San Francisco in March,” said sources.

Sources said Wray is also likely to meet senior officials of the central intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Home Affairs. “Usually, officials of the NIA and central intelligence agencies meet the FBI’s legal attache to discuss their cases and criminals. This is the first time that they are going to present all the evidence and cases before the FBI director,” said sources.

Festive offer

Wray will be accompanied by the FBI legal attache team, US Embassy personnel, and national security and law enforcement officials, said sources.

When contacted, the US Embassy spokesperson said, “I have nothing to announce on this.”

Earlier this week, the White House had confirmed that the alleged plot to assassinate Pannun was discussed in meetings between its visiting Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer and top Indian officials. Finer met NSA Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday.

On November 29, US federal prosecutors charged Nikhil Gupta, 52, an Indian citizen, with working with an unnamed Indian government employee in an alleged plot to kill Pannun. The US prosecutors informed a Manhattan court that authorities in the Czech Republic had arrested Gupta.

The Indian Express reported earlier that Gupta was moved from a high security prison facility in Prague to US jurisdiction in mid-November, days before the indictment was filed.

Describing it as a “matter of concern”, India had announced a high-level probe. Pannun is wanted by Indian probe agencies on various terror charges.

The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, first reported last month that US authorities foiled a plot to assassinate Pannun, and issued a warning to the Indian government over concerns it was involved in the plot.

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