The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested four Nagaland government officers — three serving and one retired — on charges of extortion and unlawful “tax” collection of behalf of the NSCN(K), a banned outfit. With the arrest of these four, seven government officers have been arrested on such allegations in last six months.
The four held are Purakhu Angami, former director of tourism; V Aza, additional director of agriculture; Hutoi Sema, joint director of irrigation; and Kekhriesatuo Tep, superintendent-cum-cashier of the fisheries department. A special NIA court in Dimapur ordered three days’ police remand of the officers.
They were arrested under Section 384 of IPC and Sections 10, 13, 17 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, read with Sections 7 and 8 of the NSR, Section 25(1B) of Arms Act and Section 13 of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, a letter sent to the Nagaland chief secretary by the NIA’s Guwahati office said, requesting initiation of departmental action.
“The officials in their official capacity provided substantial amount to NSCN(K) by way of contributing government funds to the banned outfit, thereby supporting NSCN(K) in furtherance of its unlawful activities,” a press release from the NIA said. It also said the officers were involved in paying “huge amount of money” to underground factions like the NSCN(K), NSCN(R), FGN and NNC between 2012 and 2016.
“The allegations were revealed during scrutiny of official documents, including demand letters and payment receipts which were seized during the search operation carried out by the NIA in 13 government offices on January 18, 2017,” it said. While the original case registered on August 1, 2016, in Dimapur Sub-Urban police station related to large-scale extortion and unlawful “tax” collection on behalf of NSCN(K) from individuals and organisations, it was re-registered with the NIA branch office in Guwahati on August 18, 2016.
The four officers were arrested from Dimapur as a follow-up after the arrest of two top NSCN(K) cadres — Khetoshe Sumi (finance in-charge of NSCN-K for Kohima region) and Victo Sumi (released on bail in December 2016).
In April, the NIA had arrested three Nagaland government officers in connection with the same case. They were Tulula Pongen (drawing and disbursing officer in social welfare department), Alienba Pangjung Jamir (joint director-cum-DDO in land resources department), and K Lashito Sheqi (upper division clerk in the same department).