Just three days after NIA had apprehended three senior Nagaland government officials in connection with the alleged terror funding case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday issued fresh summons to former Nagaland chief minister, T.R. Zeliang and his then personal secretary, K Francis Zeliang to appear before it for questioning at its headquarters at Lodhi Road, New Delhi on March 31.
In separate notices to both on Tuesday, NIA asked the duo to be present at 10 a.m. without fail “for the purpose of answering certain questions relating to the matter under investigation along with related documents regarding payments received from government offices.”
The Central investigating agency is probing alleged diversion of government funds to various Naga outfits, particularly NSCN (K).
Earlier this month, Zeliang was summoned by NIA to Delhi for interrogation. However, Zeliang had personally written for deferment of the date for his cross examination because of the ongoing Assembly session, which ended on March 26.
Just before the Assembly election in February, the NIA had summoned three officials– OSD and PROs, from chief minister’s office to Guwahati. Two days before the election results were announced, one of the officers was also summoned to New Delhi again.
Reacting to summons issued earlier, press secretary (PS) to Zeliang maintained that as a law abiding citizen of the country, TR Zeliang was ready to co-operate with any investigating agency, including NIA, probing extortion cases in Nagaland since August 2016.
The PS asserted that then CMO under Zeliang had nothing to do with funding banned organisations, and that the timing of summon was “conspicuously odd” as it only fuelled suspicions that political motivation and vendetta could not be ruled out.
It may be mentioned that on March 25, NIA apprehended three senior government officials in connection with alleged charges of large scale extortions and illegal tax collections on behalf of the banned NSCN (K), from various government organizations and others in Dimapur and Kohima areas.
NIA had stated that the officials “were arrested on the basis of their alleged involvement in paying huge amount of money to various UG factions such as NSCN (K), NSCN (R), FGN, NNC and others within the period from 2012-2016.”
It said that the allegations were revealed during the scrutiny of official documents including demand letter and payment receipts which were seized during search operation carried out by NIA in 13 government offices on January 18, 2017.
So far, NIA has apprehended/detained 10 Nagaland government officials– retired and serving, since 2017 in connection with the extortions and illegal tax collections case.