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Nagaland Police bust illegal “tax” racket run by NSCN(IM)

The police also found that all the challans were signed and bore the signature of one John, a NSCN(IM) cadre.

Three weeks after the newly-appointed Governor of Nagaland had constituted a high-powered committee (HPC) to inquire into illegal and multiple taxations in the state, the police have unearthed a a well organized network of illegal taxation on transport and commercial vehicles which was reportedly controlled by the NSCN (I-M) cadres and involved 17 transport & goods companies in it.

The police action also comes almost exactly a year after NGOs, civil society organisations and tribal bodies like the Naga Council had launched a state-wide movement under Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) against rampant “taxation” imposed by different groups including different NSCN factions.

Dimapur Police additional SP Wati Jamir said that the network was controlled by some NSCN (IM) cadres and run from the offices of different transport and goods carrier companies/agencies based in Dimapur. The Anti-extortion Team of Dimapur Police which unearthed the racket said it was a “big and well organized network” of illegal taxation running into crores of rupees and involved more than 17 transport and goods carrier companies in Dimapur, the commercial hub of the hill state. Several persons have been taken into custody while all the transport company offices in Dimapur closed down.

The racket first came to light when the Anti-extortion Team of Dimapur police arrested one Raja, a Manager of a Guwahati-Nagaland Carrying Service, with its office at Golaghat Road on August 30, for collecting illegal tax from transport trucks in the name of Company Goods Carrying Agency, suspected to be a fake agency.

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“Police officers investigating the case were stunned to discover a big and well-organized network of illegal taxation running into crores of rupees. Based on specific inputs the investigating team on Monday raided and searched the office of one M/S Freight Carriers (India) Pvt. Ltd located at MST Road, Dimapur which led to the recovery and seizure of 43 illegal lorry challans for trucks plying on the Guwahati-Imphal route through Nagaland,” Jamir said.

The police also found that all the challans were signed and bore the signature of one John, a NSCN(IM) cadre. The managers of the company identified as Rajbir Sharma and Vikash Sharma were taken into custody for questioning, the additional SP said.

During questioning, the two managers admitted that “taxes” were collected from all Manipur-bound transport trucks by issuing the seized lorry challans on the direction of the cadres of NSCN(IM). They also revealed that all the transport companies based in Dimapur were involved in the illegal collection. Based on their disclosure, managers and owners of all transport companies in Dimapur were summoned by the police and their statements were recorded.

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Jamir also said that all Manipur-bound transport and commercial trucks coming from outside the state are directed by this “tax” racket to report to the branch or agency of the transport company in Dimapur once they enter Nagaland, where they are asked to pay the illegal taxation and obtain the tax challan without which the trucks cannot proceed.

On obtaining the tax challan, trucks reach Mao Gate (on Nagaland-Manipur border) where an “In Gate Pass” receipt is issued on production of the tax challan. Trucks, on their return journey have to produce the “In Gate Pass” receipt at Mao Gate to obtain an “Out Gate Pass” receipt, only after which the vehicle can return without further harassment, the Additional SP said.

He said that the persons, during interrogation revealed that each six-wheeler truck has to pay Rs 7500 against the printed amount of Rs 75, while 10-wheelers have to pay Rs 10,500 against the printed amount of Rs 105.

First published on: 17-09-2014 at 07:11:15 pm
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