New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might have focussed on winning the Northeast with seven out of eight states in the kitty of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA); it kept its eyes off the conduct of its party leaders there. The BJP state president of Nagaland Temjen Inna Along is embroiled in an alleged fraud worth a whopping Rs 10 crore. Along, who is also a minister in the Nagaland government, is accused of defrauding the State Bank of India. 
Along, who?

He is not only the BJP president in Nagaland but also the state’s minister for higher & technical education. In a surprise move, BJP appointed Along as the state president this June. It came as a surprise as Visasolie Lhoungu who has been the state president since January 2016, was unceremoniously removed even though he his term was to last till January 2019. Sources say the central leadership of BJP, which banked on Visasolie, a career bureaucrat, soon started looking for a younger face.

Along, who is often referred as ‘Sumo’ in Nagaland due to his obesity, was given the charge with the goal of 2019 general election. He created ripples in the state Assembly by speaking in Hindi, taking many of his colleagues by surprise as English is the mostly used language in the state. But efforts like these made Along a favourite of 6 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg in Delhi.

Little did the BJP know the young face they were so heavily banking on would turn out to be a reason for embarrassment for the party.

What’s the ‘fraud’ all about?

The crux of the alleged fraud is a loan of Rs 10 crore that Along secured from the State Bank of India in its Old Market Branch in Dimapur, 68 km from Nagaland’s capital Kohima. A Dimapur-based Bright House Society alleged that the said loan was obtained by the BJP state president against forged or fake documents presented to the bank. The Bright House Society lodged a formal complaint with the office of the deputy commissioner on July 3, alleging that the transaction was fraudulent.
Modus operandi

Along allegedly submitted the original documents to Bright Housing Society as he sought a loan of Rs 2.5 crore. It was March last year when Along allegedly mortgaged the property for a loan from the society. It is alleged he soon applied for fresh documents from the authorities without disclosing that he has already submitted the original papers for the mortgage. Once the new documents were procured, Along submitted them again in SBI for a fresh loan of Rs 10 crore. In short, the Nagaland BJP chief allegedly procured two loans against the papers of one property.

Curious case of missing documents

The deputy commissioner asked both Along and the Old Market branch manager of SBI to furnish the original documents against which the huge loans were provided to Along on October 1. This was to ascertain the authenticity of the claim made by the cooperative society that called the documents “fabricated”.

The documents that the bank produced were found to be fake after careful inspection. But when the complainant, that is the cooperative society, submitted the documents in its possession, they turned out to be original. After this, the deputy commissioner’s office ordered SBI to surrender the documents in its possession, which by now turned out to be fake, on or before October 22 this year.

But Temjen Inna Along refuses to accept what is now clear — that a financial fraud has been committed, cheating both SBI and the cooperative society. In an order dated October 22 this year, which is in exclusive possession of MyNation, the DC has remarked, “In the matter of the petition dated 15.10.2018 received from Shri Temjen Inna Along LKR the Pattadar of Patta No 369 located at Padumpukhuri , requesting for postponement of submitting the document”.

Along has been given more time till November 30 to prove his innocence. But the question remains, what document will he submit when the original has been found in possession of the housing society, against which he had taken a loan of Rs 2.5 crore?

Though the case is not over yet, the allegations are prima facie found to be reasonable by the DC office to initiate the investigation. The very fact that Along has so far not been able to prove the allegations wrong raises a serious question of morality apart from criminality.

Along is still the BJP chief in Nagaland and the Cabinet minister of higher education and technical education. MyNation tried to contact him, dialling his mobile number provided in the BJP website. He hasn’t responded so far. Neither has State Bank of India replied to our query.