MLA clarifies on encroachment charge

YACHULI, Aug 20: Two former ASMs and a public leader of Pistana circle in an FIR lodged at the police station here on 16 August levelled the charge that local MLA Likha Saaya encroached on government land – a charge which the MLA categorically rejected on Monday as “politically motivated,” “contemptuous,” and an attempt to tarnish his hard-earned political image.
The plot of land in question falls under the circle officer’s campus in Saaya’s hometown, Pistana.
The complainants, identified as ASMs Likha Tali and Toko Teti and public leader Debia Tara in the FIR sought action against Saaya for dismantling a PHED water tank, occupying the circle officer’s official residence, and encroaching on its premises.
Saaya has strongly denied his involvement in the alleged land-grabbing case, saying the law would take its own course if he has erred, and that he is ready to fight legally in court to prove his innocence.
“The trio can approach the courts instead of making allegations against me in public, that too without any proof to substantiate their claims, and there I will give them a befitting reply,” said Saaya.
He claimed that the local panchayat, in exchange of a plot of land that he voluntarily donated for construction of the model school and further expansion of the secondary school in Pistana, recommended a plot of land elsewhere in the hills.
Saaya, however, denied sending any man or machine for earth-cutting in the land in question, as alleged in the FIR.
“It is wrongly mentioned in the FIR that I resorted to land-cutting as I never sent anything there to clear the jungle or whatsoever,” he said.
Saaya said the circle officer of Pistana “is a living example to explain whether any unauthorized trespassing took place on the grounds of his official residence or not.”
On the accusation of dismantling the PHED tank, Saaya said he has “no idea who demolished it and when,” as he himself “recently learnt (through the FIR) that there was a small abandoned tank lying in the forest.”
Saying such allegations “are expected, as election time is nearing,” Saaya said he would not succumb to false charges but continue his efforts to develop his constituency.
The MLA appealed to all “not to believe in rumours driven by people with vested interests and political vendetta.”
When contacted, Pistana Circle Officer D Gara said, “Taking cognizance of the FIR, the Lower Subansiri DC has issued a prohibitory order to stop the ongoing land-cutting in the area in question.”
According to Gara, local sources informed that the now demolished SPT building was constructed back in 1999 by then gaon burah (and current Pistana HGB) Tarak Tulo for residential purposes.
“It was then allotted it to a peon, Likha Yala (a relative of the GB), after a few years to accommodate her on humanitarian ground, and was wrongly mentioned as a government structure in the FIR,” Gara said.
Referring to available government records, the CO said the identity of the SPT building demolished earlier as a government property “is yet to be established as there is no record available specifying that the immovable property is that of the government.”
Asked if the allegation of damaging his official residence and thereafter occupying its premises were true, Gara, who still lives in the allotted quarters, said there has been no damage or encroachment within its known boundaries.
“An FIR has also been registered against unknown persons for carrying out the construction work,” the CO informed.
The CO said that in the absence of proper government record, and the preliminary investigation underway, it would be too early to comment further on the issue “as everything is unclear as of now.”
The complainants who lodged the FIR could not be contacted for a statement.