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NPCC plea on VRS scam
Correspondenti KOHIMA, JUL 4:
Published on 5 Jul. 2009 12:42 AM IST
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After the request for sanction to prosecute officials involved in the Rs. 1.23 crore Nagaland Sugar Mill employees Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS)scam was refused by the DAN government, the opposition Congress has urged the state Governor to accord immediate sanction against those persons chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Congress which called on the Governor today submitted a letter and urged his immediate intervention to accord sanction for the prosecution of four named in the scam including Rajya Sabha MP, Khekiho Zhimomi. The CBI had already chargesheeted, Khekiho Zhimomi, Hokishe Assumi, Deputy Director, Industries and Commerce and two members of NSCN, Azheto and Visheto, but the state government had refused to accord sanction to prosecute the officials. Earlier, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had categorically stated that the government of Nagaland would not issue sanction order on the plea that the CBI had not been invited by the state to probe the scam. He however said government was prepared to settle the matter with the aggrieved members outside the court and CBI. Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, led by its president, K V Pusa called on Governor, K. Sankaranarayanan Saturday evening and submitted its memorandum for prosecution of persons involved in the scam. Claiming that the Congress stood for a corrupt-free, accountable and transparent government, the NPCC said it regretted that the ruling NPF-led DAN coalition belied people’s expectation by indulging in corruption and scandals in various departments. The Congress said the state government’s plea against giving sanction to the CBI in the VRS scam was flimsy as it was to protect those involved in corrupt activities and who have been chargesheeted by the CBI. The CBI had taken up the case following the directive of the principal bench in Gauhati to a PIL filed by the aggrieved non-local seasonal workers of the now defunct Nagaland Sugar Mills after they were deprived of the VRS. The two NSCN members are still absconding and the CBI had urged the union governments intervention to nab the cadres. It has also urged the state police to trace the absconding cadres. Efforts have also been made to pursue the matter with the special secretary (internal security) MHA, New Delhi who is also the monitoring authority and the chairman of the ceasefire agreement with NSCN to locate the members of NSCN but so far there has been little progress, the CBI report said. The investigating agency has also indicted K. Keppen, director of industries and commerce and Kahoto Sumi the then DDO for major penalty. Meanwhile, according to opposition Congress sources, the issue was likely to be raised at the forthcoming assembly session as the party was determined not to allow those involved escape from being prosecuted as per the law of the land. According to the CBI, two NSCN members Azheto and Visheto in conspiracy with Hokishe Assumi, now deputy director Industries, had on April 27,2004 disbursed Rs.30 lakh meant as VRS to seasonal employees of the sugar mills near Central Jail while keeping Rs.13,69,000 for themselves. The two NSCN members then ordered Visheke chairman adhoc committee of the NSMC “under threat of death” to disburse the remaining Rs.16,31,000 under names of seasonal employees but who were not present in the house on that date. The CBI report said Azheto and Visheto at gun point ordered Visheke and Baban Rai then chairman of secretary adhoc committee respectively of the ex-seasonal employers of the NSMC to append their signatures to the APR for the entire amount of 1,23,03,580 against names of all employees but who were not present in the house that day. The investigation also revealed that the members of NSCN had retained the orginal APR for Rs. 1,23,03,580.00 on April 27, 2004 and subsequently the original receipt for disbursement of Rs. 30 lakhs had been taken away by members of the outfit from Visheke. The CBI also said Hokishe Assumi had personally produced the APR to the Director of Industries in May 2007 after a lapse of about three years when inquiry by the Vigilance department was in progress. Assumi was also accused of having met with Azheto and Baban Rai in his office room in Kohima during 2004 where he had asked Baban Rai to sign on some records but which was “tactfully avoided.”

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