Nagaland ex-CM Zeliang summoned by NIA

TR Zeliang

Nagaland ex-CM TR Zeliang summoned by NIA in extortion case investigation; ordered to appear before March 13

Days after Nagaland election results, the National Investigation Agency has issued summons to former chief minister TR Zeliang, asking him to appear before it in Delhi on March 13 in connection with a probe related to alleged "tax collection" and "extortion" from state government departments by banned Naga insurgent groups.

"The NIA notice was served to Mr. Zeliang through fax belonging to the Chief Minister's Office 15 minutes past midnight on March 12".

The agency had on February 13 summoned Zeliang's officer on special duty (OSD) Ruokuovizo, and two public relation officers in the former CMO, Karibo and Kuirang, ahead of the state assembly elections.

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While detailing the circumstances surrounding the NIA summon, the NPF recounted that with the announcement of State Assembly Elections 2018 in Nagaland, came a summon from the NIA for three staffers of the then Chief Minister's Office.

In a hard hitting reaction, NPF through its press and media bureau alleged that a "devious game" was being played against its leader Zeliang by NIA and accused the agency, which was tasked with looking into terror activities in the country, was instead being used as a political tool.

The agency, in its charge sheet in 2017, claimed that it had recovered incriminating documents which proved the involvement of NSCN (K) members in extortion activities done in connivance with government officials. He has to appear in NIA's New Delhi office and has to account for the alleged payments given by the government departments to banned terror organisation NSCN (K).

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The charges against her had already led to her boycotting polls in 2014, which triggered widespread protests at the time. The BNP has claimed that the cases are politically-motivated to keep its party chief out of the national elections.

Further, the timing of the summons, despite the co-operation rendered from day one, is conspicuously "odd and political motivation and vendetta surrounding the case can not be ruled out", the communiqué from the former Chief Minister alleged. It said after few days of questioning, they were let off and it appeared that the case against them was settled. The extortion cases in Nagaland have been investigating by NIA since August 2016.

Zeliang, who heads the Nagaland People's Front (NPF), ran the previous government in Nagaland in alliance with the BJP.

"The timing of the summons is suspect", Hau said, stressing that the agency needs to understand that "as the head of the NPF legislature party, it is very important for him to be present in the Assembly from March 13 to March 26".

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