Dimapur: In a stunning revelation, the Rising People’s Party (RPP) on Thursday alleged that five close confidants of Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to appear before it in Guwahati.

RPP president Joel Naga and treasurer Vitho Zao, in a statement, said the ED booked the five under Case No. ECIR/GWZO/09/2020/488. They added that out of the five, at least two of them have had CBI cases pending against them since 2019.

The RPP said the ED summons could be considered a turning point in the state’s history. It also provided court documents to substantiate its claims.

“This summons is a first in the history of the state and the harried general public reeling under blatant corruption is finally beginning to believe that the long arm of the law will finally prevail,” the RPP said.

The party said the five summoned by the ED are Kuovisieo Rio, Mengutuo Rio, Dsesevi Pielie, Vibeilietuo Kets, Mhalelie Rio, adding that “all of them have given their address as Sovima village, Dimapur”.

Saying that Kuovisieo Rio has been appointed to the CMO as the personal assistant to the chief minister, the party said: “This is nothing less than a direct indictment of the chief minister himself.”

The RPP said the other four are also believed to be close confidants of the chief minister. The party said it is incumbent upon the chief minister to clear the air regarding the alleged money laundering case.

It said though the ED summons letter was issued on February 24, the “deafening silence of the CM and the CMO in this matter till now is a story in itself”.

The party demanded that the CM publicly address the issue by calling a press conference in order to put to rest all speculations.

The RPP also alleged that all the five persons in question approached the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court pleading to declare the money laundering case filed against them as “void, non-operative”. However, Justice Nelson Sailo and Justice Arun Dev Choudhury of the court rejected their plea, it added.

The party also requested the ED to pursue the case to its logical conclusion as per the available facts.

“The charge of ED being used as a ‘political weapon’ by the ruling government at the Centre should not surface in this case,” the RPP said.                                                                                

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com