Meghalaya HNLC tripartite peace talks
File image of HNLC rebels at an undisclosed location.

The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has threatened to take action against ‘benami businessmen, corrupt government officials and middlemen’ of Meghalaya.

“The HNLC has decided to identify and issue the death penalty to individuals who have been carrying on their unscrupulous activities,” Saiñkupar Nongtraw, the general secretary of the outfit said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said that it has come to the notice of outfit about the existence of Benami businessmen and corrupt government officers in the public as well as the private sectors in Khasi, Jaintia Hills and Ri Bhoi districts.

“Businessmen from outside the state are using the local businessmen, contractors as well as politicians to pump out money from the state via benami transactions. By engaging into benami trade and transactions the outsiders are evading income tax,” he said.

The HNLC leader alleged that most of the industries in Meghalaya are flourishing under the benami route.

“Cement companies, coke factories and other industrial units fall under the benami practice. Even petty businesses are being operated by non-tribal businessmen under tribal names. After receiving several inputs from the people of Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri Bhoi districts, the HNLC has gathered a lot of information about the existence of benami businessmen,” Nongtraw said.

He alleged that certain politicians are involved in the benami trade and they have their share in industries and cement companies.

“At the same time there are certain individuals who act as dalal (middlemen) in obtaining NOC and also single-window clearances from the state government,” said the HNLC leader.

Businessmen from outside the state participate in tenders by using the local contractors, he said.

“Almost the entire state machinery is being infected by benami trade practices. Contract works, supplies are all being manipulated by non-tribal businessmen,” said the rebel leader.

Nongtraw alleged that certain leaders of pressure groups from Jaintia Hills, Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi districts are also involved in the practice.

“Businessmen from outside the state in fact use certain leaders of pressure groups to unleash the virus of benami trade and threaten other businessmen,” he alleged.

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