Nagaland court summons NSCN (IM) leader T Muivah’s aide, others in money laundering case

NEW DELHI, 19 Dec: A special PMLA court in Nagaland has issued notices to a close aide of top NSCN (IM) leader T Muivah and others to appear before it after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a chargesheet against them.

The accused named in the prosecution complaint (chargesheet) include Rayilung Nsarangbe alias Pela Nsa Zeme, a self-styled colonel and treasurer of the NSCN (IM), and his wife Ruth Chawang, in a case linked to a “well-organised extortion racket run by the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah faction or the (NSCN-IM),” the federal agency said in a statement on Monday.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court of the district and sessions judge of Dimapur has taken cognisance of the prosecution complaint recently filed against them by the ED, and has issued notices to the accused to appear before it, the ED said.

The NSCN (IM) is a banned Naga separatist organisation and Thuingaleng Muivah is its general secretary. It is currently engaged in peace talks with the central government.

The money laundering case was filed by the ED after studying an FIR registered against them by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in July 2020.

“It was alleged in the NIA chargesheet that the terrorist gang of NSCN (IM) was carrying out a well-organised extortion racket in Manipur and Nagaland, resulting in diversion of government funds,” the ED had said earlier.

It had said that “in pursuance of their conspiracy for terrorist acts, the terrorist gang of NSCN (IM) had been criminally intimidating construction companies undertaking road construction projects in Manipur and collected huge sum as illegal tax (extortion).”

The ED investigation found that the group’s in-charges of four districts in Manipur – Tamenglong, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel – were “reporting” to Nsarangbe as he was the treasurer.

“The district representatives were submitting the extorted money along with the details of collection made by them from various economic activities to Rayilung,” the agency alleged.

Huge amounts of extortion money are being “directly collected” by Nsarangbe, it claimed.

“Major part of the extortion amount was being utilised as per the direction of the collective leadership, and part of it was being deposited in the bank accounts maintained in the name of Rayilung, his wife Ruth Chawang,” it said.

The ED claimed that, in order to “conceal” the proceeds of crime, mutual funds and insurance products were subscribed to or purchased in the name of Chawang alias Ruth Zeliang from the cash deposited in the accounts. (PTI)