Skip to main content
Press Release

U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of Indian National Charged In Connection With Foiled Plot To Assassinate U.S. Citizen In New York City

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
At the Direction of an Indian Government Employee, Nikhil Gupta Worked to Carry Out a Plot to Murder U.S.-Based Leader of Sikh Separatist Movement

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Merrick B. Garland, the Attorney General of the United States; Lisa Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States; Anne Milgram, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”); and Christopher A. Wray, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the extradition of NIKHIL GUPTA, a/k/a “Nick,” from the Czech Republic on the murder-for-hire charges contained in a Superseding Indictment.  GUPTA was arrested and detained in the Czech Republic on June 30, 2023, and extradited pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Czech Republic.  GUPTA arrived in the Southern District of New York on June 14, 2024, and was arraigned on the charges in the Superseding Indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott today.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendant conspired from India with an Indian government employee in an unsuccessful assassination plot to assassinate, right here in New York City, a U.S. citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India.  Today’s extradition makes clear our unwavering resolve to investigate, thwart, and prosecute those who seek to harm and silence U.S. citizens here and elsewhere.  We thank our Czech government counterparts for their close cooperation in this extradition.”

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland: “This extradition makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate attempts to silence or harm American citizens.  Nikhil Gupta will now face justice in an American courtroom for his involvement in an alleged plot, directed by an employee of the Indian government, to target and assassinate a U.S. citizen for his support of the Sikh separatist movement in India.  I am grateful to the Department’s agents who foiled this assassination plot and to our Czech partners for their assistance in this arrest and extradition.”

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said: “This murder-for-hire plot — allegedly orchestrated by an Indian government employee to kill a U.S. citizen in New York City — was a brazen attempt to silence a political activist for exercising a quintessential American right: his freedom of speech.  The extradition of the defendant is a vital step toward justice, and I am grateful to our Czech partners for their assistance in this matter.  We will continue working relentlessly to identify, disrupt, and hold accountable those who seek to harm American citizens here or abroad.”

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said: “Last year, the DEA uncovered an alleged assassination plot orchestrated by an Indian government employee and Nikhil Gupta, an international narcotics trafficker.  Gupta is alleged to have orchestrated a dangerous plot to murder a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.  DEA’s number one priority is always the health and safety of the American people.  This extradition is the result of the hard work and commitment of the DEA New York Division’s Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is comprised of DEA, the New York State Police, and the New York City Police Department.  This case is also a testament to the partnerships DEA has built with our law enforcement partners around the globe, like the Czech Republic’s National Drug Headquarters, as well as our federal law enforcement partners here at home.” 

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said: “This defendant has been extradited for his alleged role in a plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen on American soil.  The FBI will not tolerate attempts by foreign nationals, or anyone else for that matter, to repress constitutionally-protected freedoms in the U.S.  We will continue to work with our partners at home and abroad to protect our citizens and these sacred rights.” 

As alleged in the Superseding Indictment and other public court documents:[1]

Last year, an Indian government employee (“CC-1”), working together with others in India and elsewhere, including GUPTA, directed a plot to assassinate, on U.S. soil, an attorney and political activist, who is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin (the “Victim”).

GUPTA is an Indian national who resides in India, is an associate of CC-1, and has described his involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking in his communications with CC-1 and others.  CC-1 is an Indian government agency employee who has variously described himself as a “Senior Field Officer” with responsibilities in “Security Management” and “Intelligence” and has referenced previously serving in India’s Central Reserve Police Force and receiving “officer [] training” in “battle craft” and “weapons.”  CC-1 directed the assassination plot from India.

In or about May 2023, CC-1 recruited GUPTA to orchestrate the assassination of the Victim in the U.S.  The Victim is a vocal critic of the Indian government and leads a U.S.-based organization that advocates for the secession of Punjab, a state in northern India that is home to a large population of Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India.  The Victim has publicly called for some or all of Punjab to secede from India and establish a Sikh sovereign state called Khalistan, and the Indian government has banned the Victim and his separatist organization from India.

At CC-1’s direction, GUPTA contacted an individual whom GUPTA believed to be a criminal associate but was in fact a confidential source working with the DEA (the “CS”) for assistance in contracting a hitman to murder the Victim in New York City.  The CS introduced GUPTA to a purported hitman, who was in fact a DEA undercover officer (the “UC”).  CC-1 subsequently agreed, in dealings brokered by GUPTA, to pay the UC $100,000 to murder the Victim.  On or about June 9, 2023, CC-1 and GUPTA arranged for an associate to deliver $15,000 in cash to the UC as an advance payment for the murder.  CC-1’s associate then delivered the $15,000 to the UC in Manhattan.

In or about June 2023, in furtherance of the assassination plot, CC-1 provided GUPTA with personal information about the Victim, including the Victim’s home address, phone numbers associated with the Victim, and details about the Victim’s day-to-day conduct, which GUPTA then passed to the UC.  CC-1 directed GUPTA to provide regular updates on the progress of the assassination plot, which GUPTA accomplished by forwarding to CC-1, among other things, surveillance photographs of the Victim.  GUPTA directed the UC to carry out the murder as soon as possible, but GUPTA also specifically instructed the UC not to commit the murder around the time of anticipated engagements scheduled to occur in the ensuing weeks between high-level U.S. and Indian government officials.

On or about June 18, 2023, masked gunmen murdered Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia, Canada.  Nijjar was an associate of the Victim, and like the Victim, was a leader of the Sikh separatist movement and an outspoken critic of the Indian government.  On or about June 19, 2023, the day after the Nijjar murder, GUPTA told the UC that Nijjar “was also the target” and “we have so many targets.”  GUPTA added that, in light of Nijjar’s murder, there was “now no need to wait” on killing the Victim.  On or about June 20, 2023, CC-1 sent GUPTA a news article about the Victim and messaged GUPTA, “[i]t’s [a] priority now.”

*                *                *

GUPTA, 52, an Indian national, has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI’s New York Field Office.  Mr. Williams also thanked the DEA’s Special Operations Division, the DEA’s Vienna Country Office, the FBI’s Prague Country Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and the Czech Republic’s National Drug Headquarters for their assistance.  The DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprises agents and task force officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with Czech authorities to secure the arrest and extradition of Gupta.

This case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and International Narcotics Unit, Violent and Organized Crime Unit, and Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Camille L. Fletcher, Ashley C. Nicolas, and Alexander Li are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Christopher Cook and Robert McCullers of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, as well as Trial Attorney A.J. Dixon of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

 The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated June 17, 2024

National Security
Press Release Number: 24-217