‘Indian govt needs to work with us’.: Canada PM Justin Trudeau after US indictment of Indian national in failed assassination plot

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OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on the Indian government to cooperate with Canada in the investigation of the killing of India designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar after the United States Justice Department filed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US-based leader of the Sikh Separatist Movement in New York, CBC News reported.

Truedeau was quoted by CBC as saying that the news coming out of the US underscores the need for India to take the issue seriously.
Speaking to reporters, Trudeau said, “The news coming out of the United States further underscores what we’ve been talking about from the very beginning: which is India needs to take this seriously.”

He said, “The Indian government needs to work with us to ensure that we’re getting to the bottom of this. This is not something that anyone can take lightly,” according to CBC News report.

Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said that she would not make remarks on the US criminal case but added she expected more from India, CBC News reported.

She said, “Clearly, we expect more cooperation on their part. And more engagement on their part.” Joly made the remarks in Brussels, where she was attending a NATO meeting.

The US Justice Department unsealed the indictment against the Indian national about two months after Trudeau made allegations about India’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Colombia’s Surrey in June. India had outrightly rejected the allegation, terming it “absurd and politically motivated.”

Earlier this week, the Indian High Commissioner in Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma said that India is only asking for “specific and relevant” evidence in the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar so that it can help Canada in reaching the conclusion of the investigation.

In an interview with Canadian journalist Tahir Gora at TAG TV Toronto, he said, “India is only asking for specific and relevant information so that we can help you. We can help the Canadian investigators to reach their conclusion, to the extent that it will be viable for them to go for the legal action…I will urge my Canadian friends and colleagues. I can assure them that we will certainly look into them.”

On Wednesday, the United States Justice Department filed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US-based leader of the Sikh Separatist Movement and a citizen in New York.

The US Justice Department has claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities.

Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Czech authorities arrested and detained Gupta on June 30, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic.

In its indictment, the US Justice Department has claimed that, earlier this year, the Indian government employee working together with others, including Gupta, directed a plot to assassinate on a political activist who is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City.

It is claimed that Gupta is an associate of CC-1, and has described his involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking in his communications with CC-1. The indictment claims CC -1 directed the assassination plot from India.

The unsealing of the indictment follows recent sharing of information by the US on a nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists. India has since formed a high-level inquiry committee to address the security concerns highlighted by the US government.

The Ministry of External Affairs said that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on national security interests as well, and relevant departments were already examining the issue. (ANI)

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