GUWAHATI: Four people, including two senior Nagaland government officials, were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), on Friday from the state’s commercial hub of Dimapur for allegedly diverting government funds to militant groups.
Those arrested were additional director of agriculture, V. Aza; joint director of irrigation, Hotoi Sema; cashier in the department of fisheries, Kekhriesatuo Tep; and former tourism director, Purakhu Angami.
The accused persons were arrested in connection with a case registered against them at the Dimapur police station. They were booked under section 384 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 10 and 13 of the UA (P) Act 1967, Section 25 (1B) of the Arms Act, Section 7 and 8 of the Nagaland Security Regulation and Section 13 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
The NIA said it would produce the accused in a special court and seek their police custody.
In April this year, three other senior Nagaland government officials were arrested on charges of diverting funds to the coffers of SS Khaplang faction of the banned insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN-K.
A source in the NIA told the New Indian Express that more arrests of senior government officials were likely in the coming days. He said that the NIA got to know that certain government officials were diverting funds, meant for various developmental activities, to myriad insurgent groups operating in the state.
“They would divert a certain amount from a project’s budget to the insurgents. But on paper, they would show that the amount released for the work was properly utilised,” he said.
The militant groups in Nagaland, which run a parallel government, survive on the illegal taxes, collected from the government employees, traders and others. Apart from the income tax, residents are also required to pay “house tax”. Nobody has so far resisted the insurgents for the fear of retribution.
However, fed up with the decades-old tax culture, some organisations, particularly Against Corruption And Unabated Taxation, have now started raising their voice. While urging the rebel groups to unite, they insist that taxes should be paid only to one government (read one militant group).