RAW officer Vikram Yadav ‘hired hit team’ to kill Pannun: Washington Post

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It was Vikram Yadav, an officer of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), who had allegedly orchestrated the failed assassination plot of Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil, according to the Washington Post. The news report further claims, Yadav had enlisted a ‘hit team’ to carry out the operation, marking Pannun as a ‘priority’ target.

A news report by Washington Post has revealed the name of he RAW officer who allegedly orchestrating the failed bid to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil

Unnamed former US and Indian security officials, mentioned in the report, disclosed that Yadav had transmitted Pannun’s contact information, including his New York address, to the would-be assassins. “As soon as the would-be assassins could confirm that Pannun, a U.S. citizen, was home, “it will be a go ahead from us,” the outlet reports.

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India has denied US claims on Pannun

India has vehemently denied the allegations, labeling the purported conspiracy against Pannun as contrary to official policy. Prompted by the US accusations, the government had set up a high-level inquiry committee in November 2023 to delve into the murder plot allegations.

Officially India has not made any statement on the probe outcome. Talking to the media on April 1, 2024, Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar refrained from divulging specifics about the ongoing probe but affirmed inquiries into the matter. “It is something we are investigating as we believe our own national security interests are involved in that investigation,”

“So, as and when we have something to say on the investigation we would be very glad to speak about it. At this point, beyond the fact that there is an investigation going on, we have nothing more to say,” he added.

In March, following an investigation into the US claims of an alleged plot to kill Khalistani leader Pannun, an intelligence operative was reportedly removed from his position and several others were reshuffled. The investigation conducted by high-level committee set up by India had concluded that “rogue operatives not authorised by the government had been involved in the plot”, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed senior officials.

Pannun assassination plot claims by US

The new revelations come against the backdrop of US claims that India was allegedly responsible for a foiled assassination attempt on Pannun in November 2022, as reported by the Financial Times. The US, had then issued a ‘stern warning’ to New Delhi and sought a response.

Subsequently, an indictment filed in a Manhattan court also implicated Nikhil Gupta, alleging collusion with an Indian government official in the plan to assassinate Pannun. ‘CC-1’, an unnamed individual believed to have directed the plot from India, recruited Gupta as the alleged middleman to orchestrate the killing.

Gupta, aged 52, found himself apprehended in the Czech Republic on June 30, 2023, following charges from the US Justice Department. The indictment detailed Gupta’s agreement to pay $100,000 for Pannun’s assassination, with an initial payment of $15,000 made on June 9, 2023.

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