INDIA. Mumbai: A special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in Nagaland, has issued notices to a close aide of top NSCN (IM) leader T Muivah and others to appear before it based on charges of extortion by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against them.
Nagaland is the north-eastern Indian state. The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah faction is referred to as (NSCB-IM)/(Government of the People’s Republic of Nagaland/Nagalim) (GPRN). It is a banned Naga separatist organisation engaged in peace talks with the central government.
The accused named in the prosecution charge sheet include “Rayilung Nsarangbe” alias Pela Nsa Zeme, a self-styled colonel and treasurer of the NSCN (IM), and his wife “Ruth Chawang,” engaged in running a “well-organised extortion racket”, the ED said in a press release on Monday.
The PMLA court of the district and sessions judge of Dimapur has taken cognisance of the prosecution complaint and has issued notices to the accused to appear before it.
The present case was initiated based on FIR dated July 09, 2020 and Charge-sheet dated December 29, 2020, filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Guwahati, Assam, against the accused under various sections.
They include the offenses under sections 120-B, 384, 420, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 25 (1A), (1B) (a) of the Indian Arms Act 1878, section 5(b) of Explosives Substances Act 1908, sections 13, 17, 18 and 21 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2008 and section 12(1)(b) of Indian Passport Act 1967.
The investigation under the PMLA revealed that the district representatives of NSCN-IM of four administrative districts of Manipur -Tamenglong, Senapati, Ukhrul, and Chandel were extorting money from the construction companies, businessmen, etc., in the name of Rayilung.
It was also revealed that the huge amount of extortion money-“illegal tax,” was being directly collected by Rayilung as the Treasurer of the “Collective Leadership” of NSCN-IM.
A major part of the extortion amount was being utilised as per the direction of the “Collective Leadership,” and a part of it was being deposited in the bank accounts maintained in the name of Rayilung and in the name of his wife, Ruth Chawang.
Further, to conceal the proceeds of the crime, several mutual funds and insurance policies were purchased in the name of ‘Ruth Chawang @ Ruth Zeliang’, from the cash deposited in the accounts.
Rayilung had also transferred a huge amount of money to Apam Muivah, Secretary to Ato Kilonser (Prime Minister in Naga Dialogue), from the accounts maintained in his wife’s name. The ED had attached proceeds of crime amounting to Rs. 6.88 Crore in the matter earlier.
The NSCN, formed in 1980, wants a separate sovereign state that will include parts of Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. The word Naga is a collective name of many tribes descended from a common ancestor.
Their ancestral homeland- “Nagalim”– lies in the northwest corner of Southeast Asia landmass. It is bounded in the East by Burma, in the North by China, and in the West and South by India. Made up of many hill ranges, this country is known for its rich biodiversity.
The present population of Nagas is around 3.5 million, spread out in several thousand villages over 120,000sq.Km area. A dozen of these villages have developed into towns/cities ranging from 5000 to 200,000 inhabitants.
The historical symbols left behind by their ancestors are at Makhrai-Rabu-Khyafii (Makhel), a Mao Naga village now in the state of Manipur. These symbols are still treated as sacred symbols of the common roots of Nagas.