It has all the ingredients of a Le Carre novel. Plots, conspiracy,targeted assassinations across the oceans, governments, intelligence agencies and hit men working together and against each other. And at the end of it one target is dead, and several other ‘plots’ for similar such hits foiled as supposedly friendly governments and Prime Ministers get entangled with each other and the cases get exposed ‘in the course of law’.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau shocked the world, and of course India, when he held a press conference to allege that a Canadian national Hardeep Singh Nijar was killed by Indian agencies. The troll brigade here that has acquired viciousness as a debilitating weapon was set loose on the Canadian PM who stuck to his ground but was clearly unable to share more information that he now seems to have been privy to.

The US supported him but not in a baritone voice. The whispers had Canadian journalists questioning their PM - has he said more than he can prove. But now the decibels have risen to a crescendo with the US Attorney’s Office, Southern district of New York, having filed murder-for-hire charges against Indian National Nikhil Gupta “in connection with his participating in a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen in New York City.” The case is before a US District Judge and the news is all over the American media, and sections of the Indian media as well.

Gupta had apparently left New York after directing a hired hit man to “finish him (the target) brother, finish him. Don’t take too much time.” But was arrested by the Czech authorities on June 30,2023 pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the US and the Czech Republic as the Department of Justice has said in a formal statement.

The story pieced together from the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York and the American media briefed about the issue, goes as follows:

Early 2023 an Indian government employee “working together with others” (whose names no doubt will find their way into the public domain) “including Gupta, in India and elsewhere, directed a plot to assassinate on U.S. soil an attorney and political activist who is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin residing in New York City (the “Victim”).”

Gupta is as per the US information, involved in “international narcotics and weapons trafficking” His handler , the Indian government employee who was reportedly working with the Central Reserve Police Force and as per the US information appears to have been with “Security Management” and “Intelligence” contacted Gupta around May 2023 for the assassination of a person committed to the creation of Khalistan.

Gupta , under the government employee’s direction, then contacted another person to help find a hitman for the assassination. This person was in fact not a criminal as Gupta thought but working for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). And he introduced Gupta to a ‘hitman’ who was a DEA undercover officer.

So from this stage the American agencies were involved in the plot. They worked out a payment of $100,000 for the job, and Gupta arranged for “an associate” to deliver $15000 dollars in Manhattan as an advance for the assassination.

The ‘intelligence’ person in India supplied full personal information about the victim to Gupta, with all personal details, daily movements, who then passed it onto the ‘hitman’. Surveillance photographs were also shared (and needless to say part of the dossier now with the US Attorney’s Office ) as is probably the trail of conversations between all concerned.

Gupta made it clear that the assassination will have to be as soon as possible, but only after high level visits between India and the US that were scheduled.

However, while all this was going on Hardeep Singh Nijjar, another Khalistan proponent, was murdered by masked gunmen outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia, Canada. This was on June 18, 2023. Gupta told the undercover agent that Nijjar “was also the target.” And disclosed, “we have so many targets” in both Canada and the US. He reportedly spoke of ‘four jobs’ to finish before June 29, one in Canada and three in New York. He then gave the green signal for the assassination and on June 20,2023 or thereabouts sent Gupta a news article about the intended victim with the message, “It's a priority now.”

“Finish him brother, finish him, don’t take too much time,” Gupta allegedly told the DEA informant who had introduced him to the undercover officer.

When the net started closing, Gupta reportedly fled and was apprehended by the Czech authorities on the US behest. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and another ten years for the conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

In between these cloak and dagger negotiations, Trudeau returned from the G-2- visit to India to announce that he had information about the involvement of Indian agents in Nijjars’s murder. This unleashed a storm of protest in India with the television channels and the trolls joining hands to denounce Canada and Trudeau. India, of course, denied any involvement. The Americans supported Trudeau but not as vociferously as his government and the Canadian media had expected. There was relative silence until now, with the Canadian PM again asking India to cooperate.

The Indian government has now announced that it will conduct a high level enquiry into the US allegations.

Although the victim is not named in the indictment Khalistan proponent Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, had identified himself as the target earlier. India has maintained that Canada has become a safe haven for separatists who pose a grave danger. CIA Director William J. Burns flew to India in August. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines followed in October as the US media has pointed out. The plot was foiled in June, with all governments concerned having sufficient information since then.

In a statement Wednesday before the indictment was unsealed, an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Arindam Bagchi, said that India “takes … seriously” the information provided by the United States and earlier this month set up a “high-level inquiry committee” to investigate. It did not confirm or deny the existence of any assassination plot or Indian government involvement, as the Washington Post has since reported.

Meanwhile some quotes from senior law makers and others released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

US Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendant conspired from India 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 ethno religious minority group in India. I am grateful that my Office and our law enforcement partners neutralized this deadly and outrageous threat. We will not tolerate efforts to assassinate U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, and stand ready to investigate, thwart, and prosecute anyone who seeks to harm and silence Americans here or abroad.”

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said: “The dedicated law enforcement agents and prosecutors in this case foiled and exposed a dangerous plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil. The Department of Justice will be relentless in using the full reach of our authorities to pursue accountability for lethal plotting emanating from overseas.”

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said: “When a foreign government employee allegedly committed the brazen act of recruiting an international narcotics trafficker to murder a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, DEA was there to stop the plot. I want to recognize the outstanding work of the DEA New York Field Division for their leadership in this investigation, the prosecution team at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for pursuing today’s indictment, and our federal and global law enforcement partners for their assistance.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “Murder for hire is a crime out of a movie, but the plot in this case was all too real. The excellent teamwork of the law enforcement partners in this case exposed this brazen conspiracy and is why Nikhil Gupta finds himself in jail waiting to answer to these charges.”