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FBI Director Speaks to CBI Chief, NIA Head Next: What’s Expected From the Meet?

FBI chief Christopher Wray will hold separate meetings with the heads of the NIA, IB and RAW, and NSA Ajit Doval.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation Chief Christopher Wray, who is on a three-day India visit, met Central Bureau of Investigation Chief Praveen Sood on Monday, 11 December.

Wray is expected to hold separate meetings with the heads of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Intelligence Bureau and Research & Analysis Wing, and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

The visit comes just a few weeks after United States Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer's visit, where he held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and Deputy National Security Advisor Vikram Misri.

More importantly, it comes just weeks after an indictment confirmed that US law enforcement foiled a conspiracy to assassinate Sikhs for Justice founder Pannun on US soil, with the attorney's office filing charges against an Indian national who, along with a purported Indian government staffer, allegedly conspired to kill Pannun in June 2023.

Moreover, the indictment came months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that “agents of the Indian government” assassinated Khalistan Tiger Chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in British Columbia’s Surrey.

Wray is the first FBI chief to visit India in over 10 years, since the bureau's sixth director Robert Muller visited New Delhi.

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CBI Highlight

A statement from the CBI said that Wray's meeting with Praveen Sood said that the talks "focused on strengthening exchange of information on criminal matters, for improved coordination in combating transnational crimes and sharing of expertise in investigation of technology enabled crimes."

Sources familiar with the discussions told The Quint, under the condition of anonymity, that talks specifically mentioned "extradition of wanted Indian suspects, tackling crime at the intersection of finance and tech, and enhancing responses to India's judicial requests."

"Both agencies recognized the challenges posed by organized crime networks, cyber enabled financial crimes, ransomware threats, economic crimes and transnational crimes. The need to expedite sharing of evidence and for closer assistance in bringing criminals & fugitives to face justice was deliberated."

Within the context of homeland security, the issue of Indian nationals attempting to illegally enter the US through the country’s southern border and the deportation of individuals detained during such attempts are expected to figure in the interactions, the people said

The FBI chief also interacted with senior CBI officers and thanked the agency for “enduring cooperation during FBI’s long relationship with the CBI”

“Director Wray’s visit signifies a step towards deepening cooperation and shared commitment to combat crime in all its manifestations in the spirit of international police cooperation,” the CBI said.

He also visited the Delhi Police headquarters and met Commissioner Sanjay Arora and other senior officials on Tuesday, 12 December. Sources close to the talks told The Quint that the pair went over topics such as terrorism, cyber frauds and fake call centres.

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What Else is on the Agenda?

The FBI director's meeting with NIA chief Dinkar Gupta is also set to take place and sources familiar with the matter said that New Delhi will take up the issue of several pending extraditions, including that of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack co-conspirator Tahawwur Rana.

Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Rana is wanted by Indian authorities for his alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, currently remains in the United States.

Other issues that may be explored include those of mutual cooperation and information sharing, mutual legal assistance treaties and the extraditions of Tahawwur Rana and Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Specific to Pannun and other Khalistani leaders, individuals familiar with the matter said, "India will share relevant information about anti-India forces in North America with the FBI director." They added that talks will also touch upon the "nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, and terrorists," for which India set up a high-level enquiry committee.

Sources further told The Quint that the talks around information sharing will also focus on China's "deep state."

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Topics:  CBI   FBI Director 

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