New Delhi: The Czech Republic’s High Court in Prague has given the green light for the extradition of Indian national Nikhil Gupta to the United States to face ‘murder-for-hire’ charges in the alleged conspiracy to kill a Khalistani activist at the behest of an Indian government official.

The Czech justice ministry spokesperson Vladimir Repka confirmed to The Wire that the High Court had ruled that Gupta could be sent to the United States.

“The High Court of Prague has ruled that extradition is possible,” he said.

While the date of the ruling has not been made public, the order was passed in the first week of this year.

Repka said that the process would move to the Supreme Court if there is an appeal. Even if there is no appeal now or if there are further proceedings at the Supreme Court, the final decision on Gupta’s extradition will be made by the justice minister.

“The case will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice. Minister of Justice Pavel Blazek will decide whether or not to allow Gupta’s extradition to the US at a later date,” he said.

Repka said minister Blazek had a period of three months to ask the Supreme Court to review its decision “if the Minister of Justice has doubts about the correctness of the court’s decision in a given matter”.

He added that it would be “impossible to predict when the minister will make a decision”.

“The requested party can be expected to use all available means to prevent extradition,” said Repka.

Gupta, who is a resident of Delhi, was arrested on June 30, 2023 at the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel airport upon arriving on a flight from India and after an initial request from the US based on an arrest warrant issued on June 13.

The US Department of Justice sent a formal request for extradition to the Czech Republic in August last year.

A sealed indictment against Gupta had been filed earlier at a federal court in New York, but Gupta’s name only became public after US federal prosecutors released the new detailed charges in November 2023.

The charges also said for the first time that Gupta had, allegedly on the instructions of an Indian government official, hired a hitman – who was actually an undercover officer – to kill a lawyer working for a Khalistani group in New York.

While the name of the target was not released by US authorities, he is known to be Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, a Khalistani group banned by India.

The Wire had first reported that the first ruling to allow the Czech government to extradite Gupta was made by a lower court in Prague on November 23. He appealed this ruling in the High Court.

The Indian businessman had repeatedly asserted that his arrest was based on a case of mistaken identity.

His family members had approached the Indian Supreme Court last month, but the apex court refused to intervene in a ruling in the first week of January.

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