Former Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang was summoned by the NIA for questioning in a case of alleged terror funding, days after being ousted from office following Assembly polls. The agency had summoned his OSD and two office staff for questioning just before the elections.
A notice sent to Zeliang on March 11 has asked him to appear before the investigating officer at the NIA headquarters in Delhi. The notice has asked Zeliang to carry “relevant documents” related to the case. However, sources said that Zeliang has expressed his inability to appear before the NIA on Tuesday as the Assembly is in session in the state. He has sought more time from the NIA and is now likely to appear before the agency on March 17, the sources added.
The case pertains to alleged extortion from at least 14 government departments by groups such as NSCN (K), NSCN (IM) and Naga National Council.
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. Though NDPP notched up less seats than NPF, it formed the government with help from the BJP.
The notice sent to Zeliang has asked him to reach NIA headquarters at 10 am, “along with documents relevant to the payments received from the government departments for the purpose of answering certain questions relating to investigation of the instant case.”
NIA had questioned Ruokuovizo Chupno, OSD to Zeliang, and two public relations officers. NPF press secretary Sebastian Zumvu had then said: “ Since they (BJP) are no longer in coalition with us for the elections, this is what they are doing. NIA is a central agency and it would be fair for them to enquire into large money withdrawals by BJP candidates and their families from banks just before the polls.”
On January 18, 2017, the NIA had conducted searches in various government departments in Nagaland and seized receipts that showed payments to the tune of Rs 2 crore. In an official statement, the agency had said, “These seizures prima facie indicate the connivance of these government organisations in funding various underground organisations operating in Nagaland.”
Sources said these departments include the Directorate of Information Technology, Directorate of Soil and Water Conservation, Directorate of Irrigation, Directorate of Rural Development, Directorate of Urban Development, PWD, Roads and Buildings, and Directorate of Information and Public Relations.