By : Pradeep Pareek
Kohima (Nagaland),Mar 12: National Investigation Agency has asked former nagaland chief minister and opposition leader TR Zeliang to appear at its Delhi office on Tuesday, a day the newly constituted Nagaland Assembly starts its first session.
Zeliang has been summoned in a case no RC-01/2016/NIA-Guw related to a probe related to alleged "tax collection and extortion from state government departments by banned Naga insurgent group, NSCN-K in which the OSD, Media Officer and Public Relations Officer to the then Chief Minister, TR Zeliang.
Nia's move has been described as "political vendetta " in statements released by the Press Secretary to Leader, NPF Legislature Party and opposition NPF.
The session, to begin from March 13 to 26 is the first, of the 13th Nagaland. Legislative assembly which will see the election of speaker and passing of the budget in a house in which the ruling NDPP-BJP coalition govt enjoys wafer thin majority.
Zeliang has been summoned under section 160 CrPC by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), asking him to appear at its HQ, CGO Complex, New Delhi on March 13 at 1000 hrs. The notice was served through Fax no 0370-2244042 belonging to the Chief Minister’s Office 15 minutes past midnight on March 12, second letter was again served through the same Fax no at 10:05 am the same day, the content of which was similar to the first.
Both the copies were received by Zeliang from the Chief minister's office today.
Earlier , on February 15 and 16, just before the State Assembly elections, NIA had summoned for questioning three officials to Guwahati which included the OSD, Media Officer and Public Relations Officer to the then Chief Minister, TR Zeliang.
On 1st March, just before the Election results were announced, an Officer of Zeliang was again summoned and interrogated for 5 days, from March 3 to 7 at its HQ, New Delhi.
The latest summoning of the former Chief Minister himself comes at a time when the State Assembly is slated to hold its 14 days long session. Zeliang has written to the NIA expressing his inability to appear at such a short notice and also because of the Assembly Session where he is required to attend as the Leader of Opposition.
A Letter to the NIA requesting for deferment stated, "NIA has been investigating extortion cases in Nagaland since August 2016 and Zeliang, as a law abiding Citizen of the Country, is ready to co-operate with any Investigating agency including the NIA".
"But however, what remains true is the fact that the then Chief Minister’s Office under Zeliang has nothing to do with funding banned Organizations, the letter stated adding
"The timing of the summons, despite the co-operation rendered from day one, is conspicuously odd and political motivation and vendetta surrounding the case cannot be ruled out.
A Communique Issued by Press Bureau, Naga People’s Front, Central Headquarters stated, "A devious game is being played against former Chief Minister and Naga People’s Front leader TR Zeliang by the National Investigation Agency which is tasked with looking into terror activities in the country but now appears to be used to grind the proverbial political axe.
With the announcement of State Assembly Elections 2018 in Nagaland, came a summon from the NIA for three staffers of the then Chief Minister’s Office. The three officers, as law abiding citizens of India, complied and appeared before the NIA Officer concerned at the Guwahati NIA Branch Office. After few days of questioning, the three were let go by the NIA Guwahati Branch Office. The case seemed to have been settled in regard to the three officers.
However, just a day before the declaration of the Assembly Elections result, one of the Officer from CMO was again summoned to appear before the NIA investigating officer at the NIA HQ, New Delhi. Again on this occasion, the Officer complied and appeared before the Investigating Officer. Much to his dismay, he was repeatedly interrogated for 5 consecutive days from morning till late evening, until the day TR Zeliang resigned from the Office of Chief Minister.
Now that a new government has been installed in Nagaland, the dust of the NIA summons was presumed to have settled down.
However, as things would have it, the summon by the NIA raises three very serious questions, "What's the urgency that a letter has to be dispatched at 00:15 hrs? Given the fact that the First session of the 13th Assembly is slated for 13th March, couldn't the NIA wait another day? Questioned the communique adding, Knowing very well that TR Zeliang has already resigned, why send the fax to the Chief Minister’s Office?
"This whole development raises very serious questions as to whether "a well-webbed political vendetta is being played out against a man who championed and was ready to sacrifice for the cause of Naga people and their 70 decades struggle. To cast aspersions on the integrity of a man who wants Peace and Harmony for Nagaland in particular and North Eastern Region in general, as committed crimes against the nation worthy to be looked into by an investigating agency instituted to investigate terror activities, is most perplexing."