Forum serves ultimatum to govt over compensation scam

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Oct 1: The Trans-Arunachal Highway Compensation Deprived Forum (TAHCDF) has served an ultimatum to the state government to lodge an FIR against the persons involved in the Potin-Anya Gate TAH compensation scam before 20 October.
Failure to take action would invite protest by the forum, the Nyishi Elite Society, the Arunachal Pradesh Indigenous Tribes’ Forum, and others, TAHCDF spokesman Bengia Tolum told reporters at Arunachal Press Club here on Monday.
Tolum demanded that the state government lodge the FIR based on the report of the fact-finding committee (FFC) which was constituted for re-verification of the TAH stretch from Potin to Anya Gate.
Tolum informed that the FFC, headed by Lower Siang DC AK Singh, submitted its report to the chief secretary on 17 September after conducting the re-verification from 13 August to 3 September.
“However, despite a delay of 14 days, the state government is yet to take any action,” he said.
Tolum said the FFC under Singh carried out the re-verification efficiently in the field but the forum is not sure whether the same efficiency has been observed in his paperwork as it is yet to get a copy of the report.
Tolum, however, expressed confidence that the compensation amount has been significantly reduced and should now fall somewhere around Rs 40 crore as against the earlier estimate of Rs 198 crore.
Informing that they have videographed the entire re-verification process as documentary evidence, the TAHCDF spokesperson claimed that during the re-verification process it was found that, under the Yazali segment, one Toko Teji was compensated with Rs 95 lakhs twice and one Taw Tana was given a compensation of Rs 4.60 crore.
Tolum claimed that the two persons do not have a single property along the TAH stretch in Yazali against which the compensation was disbursed, and that the duo is an addition to the earlier list of 49 false beneficiaries.
Tolum added that during the re-verification they also found out that many individuals were paid “extravagant” compensation through cheques without having their names in the DPR.
Lambasting the state government for not taking the matter seriously, Tolum said corruption and mismanagement on the part of the state government was the key factor behind the delay in initiating legal action against the culprits.
He also alleged that the state government was taking a soft stand against the culprits, which he said was evident by the fact one junior engineer, K Bath, allegedly involved in the scam, was given ample time to leave the state before an arrest warrant could be issued against him.
“Why only the DC and DLRSO should be arrested when many other government officials and private individuals are also involved in the scam?” questioned Tolum, adding that if the state government fails to take action in this case, it would set a bad precedent, “after which no one will fear the law.”
Though the forum has demanded that the state government file an FIR and trace the money trail, it reiterated that it still does not have faith in the SIC or the SIT, and demanded that the matter be handed over to the CBI for free and fair investigation.