Northeast polls: Rs 1 cr seized from Naga leader's copter

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Kohima, Feb 16: Apart from religion the power of money is corrupting the election scene in northeast. In a disturbing incident an Election Commission surveillance team on Saturday seized Rs one crore cash from a helicopter allegedly being used by a candidate of the Nagaland Peoples Front (NPF). Polls for the 60 Assembly seats in the state will be conducted on February 23.

To curb use of money power the EC had issued guidelines to political parties to instruct their candidates not to carry huge cash and conduct transactions through banking channels. The elections in northeast are being held under these kind of guidelines, for the firs time.

A team of EC-appointed observers seized the cash from a chopper, which was allegedly hired to ferry Nyemli Phom who is contesting the Assembly polls from a constituency in Longleng district.

The EC has appointed a team of 'Expenditure Observers' in the state to keep a check on illegal money and other inducements being used for voters at the hustings. The EC-appointed teams are also keeping a close eye on any instances of 'Paid News' in the run up to the polls.

The EC team has alerted the Income Tax department and police officials about the development and they have dispatched their teams for the necessary action, they said. Sources said the candidate will be asked about the sources and utility of this huge cash and after recording the statement a decision will be taken about the cash.

Meanwhile, hinting at entry of money into the state, former chief minister of Nagaland S C Jamir said the current election was a fight between "money power and the people's power" and urged upon people to reject corrupt money siphoned from funds meant for public. He was addressing yesterday public meetings in Tobu, Longchang and Mopang under Mon district.
He accused NPF of fragmenting Naga society, including underground groups and thus making Nagaland more backward. Reaffirming the commitment of the Congress for Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) areas, Jamir said if voted to power, the party will not only bring remedies to their sufferings but also implement all round development through special initiatives.

Congress leader and former deputy chief minister I.K. Sema alleged that Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has become the richest ever chief minister whose wealth was enormous. Citing various anomalies in several departments, Sema also promised that if voted to power, the Congress would initiate probe against Rio as per the law of the land.

Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday assured that it would open investigations into cases of corruption committed by the NPF-led DAN government once the chief minister and NPF were voted out of power.

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