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U.S. objects to offering defence materials to Nikhil Gupta in Pannun case until look in New York courtroom

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Sikh separatist chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is pictured in his workplace on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in New York.
| Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. authorities has objected to offering defence supplies to Indian nationwide Nikhil Gupta, detained in a Czech jail on murder-for-hire expenses in a foiled assassination try on a Khalistani separatist, saying it can present the knowledge solely upon his look in a New York courtroom and arraignment within the case.

Mr. Gupta, 52, was charged by federal prosecutors right here in an indictment unsealed in November final yr with working with an Indian authorities worker within the foiled plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who holds U.S. and Canadian citizenships, on American soil.

Mr. Gupta was arrested in Prague, the Czech Republic on June 30, 2023 and is being held there at present. The U.S. authorities is in search of his extradition to the U.S.

Mr. Gupta’s lawyer filed a ‘Motion to Compel Production of Discovery’ on January 4 within the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, requesting the courtroom to direct federal prosecutors to supply “the defence materials relevant to its ability to defend the instant charges”. The lawyer acknowledged that Mr. Gupta “was last in the United States in 2017”. 

The movement states that Mr. Gupta’s household has reported to the media that they’ve “limited access” to him, he isn’t allowed consular entry and he “faces basic human rights violations in custody in Prague, including extended solitary confinement. A habeas petition has been filed on his behalf with the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic”. 

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero had on January 8 given the federal government three days to reply to the movement filed by Mr. Gupta’s lawyer. The authorities, in its reply filed on Wednesday, stated Mr. Gupta’s movement asking for discovery materials needs to be denied.

“The government respectfully submits this letter in opposition to defendant Nikhil Gupta’s motion to compel discovery during the pendency of his extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic,” federal prosecutors stated.

They stated that in step with federal guidelines of prison process, “the government is prepared to produce discovery promptly upon the defendant’s appearance in this District and arraignment on this case. Before then, however, the defendant is not entitled to discovery, and he identifies no good reason for the Court to order it”.

In the federal government’s response, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated that Mr. Gupta has recognized no authorized entitlement or justification for discovery right now.

“The government stands ready to provide discovery to him, like any other criminal defendant, promptly upon his appearance and arraignment in this District. His motion to compel discovery should be denied,” Mr. Williams stated.

Mr. Gupta’s counsel in New York, Jeff Chabrowe, has stated in his movement that the lawyer representing Mr. Gupta in Prague in his extradition proceedings states that “no evidence or documentation of any sort has been given to him other than the US indictment itself”.

He stated Mr. Gupta has been interviewed in Prague “by groups of senior U.S. agents on several occasions and continues to be interviewed”.

“An order compelling discovery is particularly appropriate here” as Mr. Gupta “is being subject to repeated interrogations by U.S. officials without the presence of the counsel representing him in his criminal case,” the movement by Mr. Chabrowe stated.

“The defence counsel present in Prague has no evidence or other case materials, other than the bare indictment. Most critically, the defendant continues (to be) interrogated by U.S. officials, after the indictment, where his uninformed counsel has no ability to secure his rights. Accordingly, this Court should order the government to comply with the defence discovery request here,” the movement stated.

Mr. Gupta’s movement stated a municipal courtroom in Prague has initially really useful extradition, “but several layers of judicial review remain before any final extradition order issues.”

It added that within the interim, Mr. Chabrowe requested the U.S. Attorney’s workplace to start offering discovery however the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York “refuses to do so”.

The authorities, in its movement, rejected Mr. Gupta’s assertion that he has been subjected to repeated interrogations by U.S. officers with out the presence of the counsel representing him in his prison case.

“In fact, he has met only twice with U.S. law enforcement authorities, the second time in the presence of counsel, and on both occasions, he was advised of his rights. In the first meeting, immediately after his arrest, the defendant waived his rights verbally and spoke with law enforcement agents.”

The authorities stated that the second assembly occurred within the presence of Mr. Gupta’s counsel within the Czech Republic, and when he declined to be interviewed, the assembly concluded.

India has already constituted a probe committee to research the allegations.

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