Washington — FBI Director William H. Webster said Monday the bureau has foiled a plot by Indian Sikhs to assassinate Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to the United States next month.

Webster said the alleged plot included plans to assassinate Bhajan Lal, chief minister of the Indian state of Haryana, while he was visiting this country.

Webster said in a statement that the FBI “determined that a group of Sikhs were plotting the assassination of Chief Minister Bhajan Lal. And planning guerrilla type operations against the government of India.”

“In addition, they were plotting to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, the prime minister of India, during his pending visit to the U.S. in June, 1985,’’ Webster said in the statement.

He said an investigation of a group of Sikhs “‘resulted in seven individuals being charged with a variety of offenses,’’ including conspiracy to possess and receive explosives, conspiracy to possess and receive a machine gun not registered to them and conspiracy to assassinate a foreign official.

Among the offenses alleged against the seven, the FBI said, was an attempt “. . . to begin, prepare a means for, and take part in a military expedition and enterprise against India.”

Webster said the FBI “successfully penetrated a plan to develop a program to train a group of Sikhs in the use of firearms and explosives. This group was planning to engage in unlawful activities directed against the government of India.”

He said the investigation was handled by FBI field offices in Birmingham, Ala.; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans, and New York.

The FBI said that last Thursday, a federal grand jury in the eastern district of Louisiana returned an indictment charging that the conspirators planned to assassinate Lal while he was in the United States for medical treatment at the Louisiana State University Eye Center,

Article extracted from this publication >> May 17, 1985