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Minister to be approver

Guwahati, July 23: Arunachal Pradesh minister T.L. Rajkumar, who is under the police scanner for his alleged link with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), has agreed to turn approver in the politician-militant nexus case barely a week after being inducted into the Mukut Mithi ministry.

Rajkumar and rural works minister Tingpong Wangcham had been arrested on April 30 under the Arunachal Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act. They were granted bail against bonds of Rs 40,000 each.

The duo hails from Tirap district, where the government has launched an operation codenamed Hurricane against the NSCN (I-M).

Education minister and government spokesperson Takam Sanjay said Rajkumar was inducted into the ministry only after he agreed to turn approver.

Sources in Itanagar said Wangcham had hinted his willingness to do likewise.

Rajkumar’s induction into the ministry despite his arrest under a legislation that is considered the equivalent of the Prevention of Terrorism Act has been condemned by all non-Congress parties in Arunachal Pradesh.

However, Sanjay justified the move, saying there was “no harm” in the chief minister giving Rajkumar an incentive to co-operate in the investigation into the politician-militant nexus.

The special investigation team of Arunachal Pradesh police claims several senior officials and public leaders have been providing “logistic support” to militants active in Tirap and Changlang districts. “The militants are not only taking shelter at their residences, but also using official vehicles to operate in these two districts,” a member of the team said.

The NSCN (I-M)’s alleged links with Rajkumar and Wangcham came to light after the police seized a diary from two militants who were arrested here last year. As many as 13 legislators from Tirap and Changlang districts are facing investigation for their alleged links with the Naga outfit.

Former finance minister L. Wanglat, who was expelled from the Congress for his alleged militant connection, surrendered a few days after the investigation team zeroed in on Rajkumar and Wangcham. He has since been granted bail.

Wanglat claimed his only meeting with Naga militant leaders was in 2001, when a 12-member delegation of legislators from Tirap and Changlang districts visited Nagaland, “with the full knowledge of the chief minister, to buy peace”.

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