The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
ONGC gets extortion note

Guwahati/Kohima, May 12: After the Ulfa, it is now the turn of the NSCN (Khaplang) to slap a demand for Rs 3 crore on the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC).

The outfit made the demand to the Nazira office of the oil giant, which formally moved Dispur this week, informing it about the development. Confirming this, Assam chief secretary S. Kabilan said Dispur had directed the state home department to take “necessary action”.

“We have received a letter from the ONGC with a copy of the demand note from the NSCN (K). I have directed the department concerned (home) to look into matter and take necessary action. Security has already been tightened and vigil will be stepped up further. We are doing what we have to do,” he told The Telegraph here this afternoon.

Home department sources said they had received two letters from the ONGC, one from its headquarters in Dehradun and the second one from its Assam Asset headquarters at Nazira on Thursday, informing about the demand note supposedly written by the NSCN (K). The outfit, however, has vehemently refuted the charges.

“The contents of the short and politely drafted demand note sent to two senior officials of the company were the same. The NSCN (K) has stated that they have fixed a Rs 3- crore tax on the ONGC after assessing the oil giant’s operations in Mon district of Nagaland. Understandably, the ONGC brass is worried,” one of the sources said. The demand note was first issued in March with a deadline of 15 days that ended in April. It has been sent again to the oil giant subsequently as reminder.

Asked what steps they were taking in view of the demand, the sources said the options before the department were to discuss with the police brass the type of security required and take up the matter with the Centre as it is an inter-state issue. It will also seek the assistance of Nagaland, as the area of threat falls in that state.

This is the second demand note that the ONGC has been slapped with in recent times, the first being from the Ulfa for Rs 500 crore.

However, the NSCN (K) expressed shock over the ONGC’s claim that the outfit had sent it a demand note. The outfit’s chaplee kilonser (finance minister) and convenor of the Ceasefire Supervisory Board, Kughalu Mulatonu, said he had neither any knowledge about an extortion attempt nor about the ONGC’s complaint. “When we are not disturbing businessmen in Dimapur, why should we go to Assam'” he argued, blaming rival faction NSCN (Isak-Muivah). “They must be involved, it is not us,” he said.

Mulatonu also gave a cellphone number, claiming it was the official number of the supervisory board convenor and said the ONGC should have at least confirmed from the outfit if the demand was made by it. “I would like to know the name of the person who has written the letter to the company,” he said.

Only last month, the outfit extended its ceasefire with the Centre for one more year.

Email This Page