â€œThis is such an incredibly serious offence,â€ says the judge.
Balwinder Singh, a 41-year-old Sikh man who plotted terror attacks in India along with Khalistan terrorists, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a US district court.
Singh, a resident of Nevada, was accused of having ties with Khalistan terror outfits back in India for creating an independent Sikh state.
He will be under the supervision of the federal agency even after the release from the prison, says the judgement.
District Judge Larry Hicks said, â€œThis is such an incredibly serious offense.â€
Brian Sullivan, an assistant US attorney, said that Singh wonâ€™t have to serve the full 15 years starting from now, as he has already served three years and is most likely to get a credit for good time.
After the completion of his prison term, the federal court will decide whether Singh will be deported back to India.
In his argument, defense attorney Mickael Kennedy said Singh has never been a threat to the US and his sentiment against India was the result of the torture administered on him by Indian authorities. He also appealed to the court to reduce the post release supervision on Singh to five years.
â€œIt will be up to an (immigration) judge to decide whether to send someone back to a country where he has been tortured or whether we as a country still stand in opposition to those sort of things,â€ Kennedy said after the sentencing.
Singh has been charged for conspiring with terrorists by giving them two night-vision goggles and for wiring funds to India for purchasing weapons to carry out attacks. But the operation didnâ€™t materialize as the man who was supposed to unleash the attack was stopped by federal agents from boarding a flight to Bangkok at the San Francisco International Airport.
According to the prosecutors, Singh continued to keep in touch with his co-conspirator over the phone and planned terror attacks in India until he was arrested.
Singhâ€™s attorney earlier argued before the court that a clause in the plea agreement would allow him to be deported to a third country other than India under the provision of US Convention Against Torture
Singh is a citizen of India and he applied for a permanent resident card in the US in 1999 and obtained the same later, said the prosecutor.
Singh, also known as Jhaji, Happy Possi and Baljit, has been in federal custody since he was arrested in Reno.
The assistant US attorney also added that it is likely that Singh will be deported to India after the completion of his sentence as he faces criminal charges for plotting a terror attack on a passenger bus that killed three people in India back in 2006.
â€œThis isnâ€™t somebody who was just recruited like some of the young people who think itâ€™s really cool to go get involved with the jihad,â€ Sullivan said. â€œMr. Singh has been involved with terrorism or terrorist organizations for over 20 years.â€
â€œWe are hoping he has learned a lesson. But we think he needs to be watched not just for three or four years, but for his entire lifetime,â€ he said.
Singh accepted the terms of the plea agreement in exchange for dropping a series of other charges, including conspiracy to murder, kidnap or maim persons in a foreign country.
â€œMy only request is I should not be deported. I should be released here,â€ Singh told the judge through a Punjabi interpreter.