A day after former Chief Minister and leader of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) TR Zeliang was issued summons by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to appear before it on March 13 in connection with alleged tax collection and funding case, the NPF has alleged that the agency is being used for ‘political mileage’.
Press bureau, NPF central headquarters in a press statement alleged that “devious game is being played against former Chief Minister and NPF leader TR Zeliang by the NIA which is tasked with looking into terror activities in the country but “now appears to be used to grind the proverbial political axe.”
While detailing the circumstances surrounding the NIA summon, the NPF recounted that 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 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 Officers from CMO was again summoned to appear before the NIA investigating officer at the NIA HQ, New Delhi where 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, the NPF stated.
Given the suspicious circumstances, the NPF posed three questions- On what urgency that a summon letter has to be dispatched at 00:15 hrs; given the fact that the first session of the 13th Assembly is slated for March 13, couldn’t the NIA wait another day? Knowing very well that TR Zeliang has already resigned, why send the fax to the Chief Minister’s Office?
It also stated that “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 having committed crimes against the nation worthy to be looked into by an investigating agency instituted to investigate terror activities, is most perplexing.”
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Earlier, in communiqué issued to the media on Monday, Zeliang said that 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.”
It may be mentioned that the former chief minister had on Monday expressed his inability to appear before the NIA on the March 13 and has requested the agency for deferment of appearance and to set another date after the NLA session.