Pannun case: Russia backs India, questions lack of evidence by US | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Russian foreign ministry on Wednesday dismissed all allegations made by the US against India regarding a foiled assassination attempt plot involving pro-Khalistan radical Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The Russian ministry said that Washington has not provided enough evidence to implicate Indian involvement in the case.
“According to the information we have, Washington has not yet provided any reliable evidence of the involvement of Indian citizens in the preparation of the murder of a certain GS Pannun.Speculation on this topic in the absence of evidence is unacceptable,” the official spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday.
The United States lacks an understanding of the national mentality and historical context of India’s state development, showing disrespect towards India as a nation, she said.
Zakharova’s remarks came in response to a media query on Moscow’s reaction to accusations against an Indian official of a foiled “assassination’ plot, and the American news publication .
‘”The Washington Post’, it seems to me, should use the term “repressive regime’ and everything you quoted in relation to Washington. It is hard to think of a more repressive government than Washington, in both domestic and international matters. Now directly about your question,” Zakharova said, according to the readout of the briefing released by the Russian foreign ministry.
“Regular unfounded accusations by the United States against New Delhi (we see that they groundlessly accuse not only India but also many other states) of violating religious freedoms are a reflection of the United States’ misunderstanding of the national mentality, the historical context of the development of the Indian state and disrespect for India as a state . I am sure that this also comes from the neocolonial mentality, the mentality of the colonial period, the period of the slave trade, and imperialism,” she said.
“This does not only apply to India. The reason is the desire to unbalance the internal political situation in India in order to complicate the general parliamentary elections taking place in the country. Of course, this is part of interference in India’s internal affairs,” she added.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is identified as a terrorist designated by India, and he possesses citizenship from both America and Canada. In November, the US justice department revealed an indictment against an Indian individual for their suspected role in a thwarted plan to assassinate Pannun.
Earlier, the external affairs ministry rejected a report in The Washington Post in April that named an Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official’s involvement in an alleged plot to kill Khalist terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US.
Describing it as an “unwarranted and unsubstantiated’ imputation on a “serious matter’ that is under investigation, ministry of external affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said the US media report was “speculative and irresponsible’.
Jaiswal also responded to media inquiries regarding a report in the Washington Post, a US national daily. He mentioned that an Indian government-appointed High-Level Committee is currently investigating security issues raised by the US government concerning networks of organized criminals, terrorists, and other individuals.
“The report in question makes unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations on a serious matter. Currently, there is an investigation being conducted by the High-Level Committee established by the Government of India to address the security issues raised by the US government regarding networks of organized criminals, terrorists, and other individuals. Speculative and irresponsible comments on it are not helpful.”
The Washington Post report claimed that a RAW official named Vikram Yadav instructed Indian businessman Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to murder Pannun outside his residence in New York.
Gupta is currently in custody in the Czech Republic and faces pending extradition to the US to stand trial in the case. According to the report in the US Daily, the operation targeting Pannun was approved by the then-RAW chief Samant Goel.
The US justice department has claimed that an Indian government employee (referred to as CC-1), who was not named in the indictment submitted in a federal court in Manhattan, enlisted an Indian individual named Nikhil Gupta to engage a hitman for the purpose of executing the assassination, which was prevented by US authorities, as per prosecutors.
Gupta has been accused of murder-for-hire, which can result in a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Czech authorities apprehended and held Gupta on June 30, following the bilateral extradition agreement between the United States and the Czech Republic.
Following this, MEA said that a case filed against an individual in a US court and allegedly linking him to an Indian official is a “matter of concern’ and is contrary to government policy.
( with input from agency)

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