Guwahati: Five close associates of Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), ThePrint has learnt.
Kuovisieo Rio, Dsesevi Pielie, Vibeilietuo Kets, Mengutuo Rio and Mhalelie Rio were issued summons by the ED on 24 February under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The case, however, came to light only last week following a statement made by the Rising People’s Party, a Nagaland-based political party.
“In what can be considered as a turning point in the state’s history at least five individuals have been summoned by the ED under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2002,” RPP said in a press release Thursday.
RPP’s statement was based on petitions that the accused had filed in the Gauhati High Court against the ED summons, in which they had also sought interim protection.
The high court orders in all five cases, which ThePrint has accessed, noted: “He (the respective petitioner) submits that the summon issued to the petitioner purports to compel a statement from him without affording him the right of silence and is also termed as evidence under oath which can therefore be used against him in a potential prosecution not only under PMLA but in other statues as well.”
The court while rejecting “the interim prayer” listed the matter for 9 May.
ThePrint reached the Nagaland CM for a comment through his media-in-charge via texts and calls. The copy will be updated with their response.
As of 30 October, 2021, the list of appointments furnished in the Nagaland government’s official calendar and diary 2022, Kuovisieo is a special assistant in the Chief Minister’s Office.
The other four – Dsesevi, Vibeilietuo, Mengutuo and Mhalelie – had in the HC petitions listed their address as Sovima village in Dimapur, the residence of CM Neiphiu.
A source in the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) told ThePrint that Dsesevi, Vibeilietuo, Mengutuo and Mhalelie work as contractors. According to the source, the four men are also known to be the CM’s “right hand” and “partner in contract works”.
Vibeilietuo and Mhalelie also have CBI cases pending against them since 2019.
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