The NIA has summoned former Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang for questioning in connection with an alleged “tax collection and terror funding” case, an official said on Monday.
The case pertains to alleged extortion from at least 14 government departments by groups such as NSCN (K), NSCN (IM) and Naga National Council. NIA is probing how government funds in Nagaland were siphoned off by banned militant outfit Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
The development comes days after Zeliang being ousted from office following Assembly polls.
A notice sent to Zeliang on March 11 has asked him to appear before the investigating officer at the NIA headquarters in Delhi.
Zeliang, who heads the Nagaland People’s Front (NPF), ran the previous government in Nagaland in alliance with the BJP. However, just before the elections in February, BJP entered into an alliance with NPF breakaway Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), led by Neiphiu Rio.
The NPF Legislature Party had issued a statement earlier saying, “On 1st March, just before the Election results were announced, an Officer of Zeliang was again summoned and interrogated for 5 days, from 3rd March to 7th March at its HQ, New Delhi.”
The statement added, “NIA has been investigating extortion cases in Nagaland since August 2016 and Zeliang, as a law abiding Citizen of the Country, is ready to co-operate with any Investigating agency including the NIA. But however, what remains true is the fact that the then Chief Minister’s Office under Zeliang has nothing to do with funding banned Organizations.”
The timing of the summons, despite the co-operation rendered from day one, is conspicuously odd and political motivation and vendetta surrounding the case cannot be ruled out.