Mystery continues over Rs 3.5 crore that went missing at Dimapur airstrip | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Mystery continues over Rs 3.5 crore that went missing at Dimapur airstrip

The police in Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, have seized CCTV footage from the airport to crack the mystery of the dramatic disappearance of Rs 3.5 crore in scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes brought in a private jet from Haryana’s Hisar on Tuesday.

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 24, 2016 01:01 IST
The chartered flight with the cash from Haryana’s Hisar landed at Dimapur airport on Tuesday morning. (HT Photo )
The chartered flight with the cash from Haryana’s Hisar landed at Dimapur airport on Tuesday morning. (HT Photo )

The police in Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, have seized CCTV footage from the airstrip to crack the mystery of the dramatic disappearance of Rs 3.5 crore in scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes brought in a private jet from Haryana’s Hisar on Tuesday.

“We are sure that the money was taken away by an individual. But the CISF personnel on duty and Income Tax (IT) officials denied having handed the money over to anyone,” Liremo Lotha, Dimapur police commissioner, said on Wednesday.

Lotha said the the CISF personnel denied handing over the money to IT sleuths. The taxmen said they issued a seizure memo but the CISF never handed over the cash to them.

“The money is neither with the CISF nor with the IT officials. We know it was handed over to an individual but they are not in a position to produce any receipt,” Lotha said, adding the taxmen were not traceable as they “moved out of station”.

The CISF personnel in Dimapur airport had alerted the Income Tax officials after a tip-off from seniors in Delhi that the private jet was headed towards Nagaland. The cash was with one Amarjeet Singh, the jet’s lone passenger said to be a businessman from Bihar.

When the plane landed at 10:07 am on Tuesday, Singh’s bag was frisked and the money was seized. But it disappeared two hours later --- after Singh had flown back to Delhi in the same aircraft accompanied by one Anato Zhimomi and two others.

Zhimomi is a young Naga businessman and the son-in-law of Nagaland’s Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio. Rio, who was chief minister of the state thrice, represents the Naga People’s Front, which rules Nagaland and is an ally of the BJP.

A CISF officer has submitted a written report to the police and the police commissioner said it had been taken as his statement. He said the CISF was claiming it had handed over the money to IT sleuths but there was no document to prove that.

According to CISF sources, its officials had handed over the accused and the money that he allegedly brought to the Income Tax authorities. The matter now stands between the Income Tax authorities and the accused.

Senior force officials say the Hisar airstrip belongs to a local flying club and it is not under their security cover. The accused had taken a chartered flight from Hisar.

Nagas, like all resident tribes of Sixth Schedule areas in the northeast, are exempted from paying income tax under Section 1o(26) of the Income Tax Act of 1921. There is no cap on the volume of money they can keep in their bank accounts, raising speculations that the region could be used as a tax haven to park unaccounted demonetised cash.

Other than Nagaland, the Sixth Schedule areas are Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur (minus Imphal Valley), and tribal councils of Assam and Tripura.