Extortion probe: Former Nagaland CM TR Zeliang appears before NIA

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By Prabin Kalita| Source—Times News Network

 

Former Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang appeared before the NIA at its New Delhi headquarters on Saturday in connection with agency’s ongoing investigation in siphoning of government funds to NSCN(K) and other Naga outfits during his tenure.

 

The NIA had summoned him for questioning but Zeliang on Saturday submitted a legal appeal to be examined at his residence, either in New Delhi or at Kohima, citing his senior citizen status.

 

“He (Zeliang) has made an appeal that he has crossed 65 years of age and being a senior citizen, he wants to be questioned at his residence and not at the NIA office. Our legal cell will examine his appeal and if it is found to be justified, we will accept his plea,” a source said.

 

The source said that Zeliang’s interrogation is necessary for the investigation. “It is not that we want to interrogate him for nothing. The investigation warrants that he be examined too,” the source added.

 

On the other hand, the Myanmar-based NSCN (K) has questioned NIA for not probing the parallel taxation system run by NSCN (IM). The outfit has accused the agency of turning a blind eye on the activities of its rival group, which is currently engaged in peace process with the government.

 

The NSCN(K) reactions have come at a time when the NIA is investigating alleged siphoning of government funds by way of extortions and illegal tax collection by the Khaplang faction and other factions like NSCN(R), FGN and NNC between 2012 and 2016.

 

“When has the Indian government legalised IM’s extortion and taxation activities in Nagaland state? From the experiences gained all along, IM is one of the most arrogant, uncompromising and unforgiving group with prompt harsh Azha (order) when it comes to collection of money, commissions, extortion, fines etc upon the Nagas in Nagaland,” NSCN(K) spokesperson Isak Sumi said in a statement posted on social media/

 

The NSCN (IM) is known to be collecting ‘tax’ from citizens of Nagaland blatantly. In April last year, the outfit through a statement released to media announced that “in view of the plight of the common Naga people” it has decided “to ease off the burden of tax payer” by slashing “employee tax” from 24 per cent to 12 per cent of their monthly salary. The outfit in the statement also appealed the people to cooperate with it.

 

“IM definitely burdens the Nagas of Nagaland with the highest amount of the above prescribed taxes,” Sumi, who is also named as one of the accused in NIA charge-sheet said.

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