4 July 2018:
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Former Lower Subansiri Deputy Commissioner Kemo Lollen, District Land Revenue and Settlement Officer (DLRSO) Bharat Lingu and politician/businessman Likha Maj were on Tuesday arrested by the sleuths of Special Investigation Cell (Vigilance) for their alleged involvement in the Joram to Koloriang Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) land compensation scam.
In this connection, a case has been registered under sections 409/419/420/467/471/120B of Indian Penal Code (IPC) read with section 13(1)(c)(d) & 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988 and an investigation launched, informed SP (SIC) Pranav Tayal.
Soon after their arrest, they were produced before the court of Special Judge, West Sessions Division at Yupia which remanded them to a seven days’ police custody, as per the SP informed.
Asked whether Lollen was admitted in RK Mission Hospital here, the SP confirmed that prior to their formal arrest, the trio were sent to RKMH for their general health check-up – which is a normal practice before effecting arrest of any notable. A press note issued by the SIC said that Kemo Lollen, during his tenure of DC, Lower Subansiri district, is alleged to have been involved in gross irregularities in assessment and disbursement of compensation in relation to the TAH project and along with him was a private individual Likha Maj, who is alleged to have been an active co-conspirator with another Govt official, Bharat Lingu, who was the former District Land Revenue and Settlement Officer in the same district.
An amount of Rs 40 crore (approx) was sanctioned for construction of the Joram to Koloriang stretch of TAH, which was funded by Govt of India through its agency NHIDCL. The enquiry into allegations of irregularities revealed conspiracy and active connivance of these officers and individuals to misappropriate Govt money through irregularities in assessment process, disbursement of excess compensation and compensation to fake beneficiaries.
The enquiry revealed that there were gross irregularities in assessing the compensation amount by officers of District Administration, Ziro, particularly the then DC Kemo Lollen and then DLRSO Bharat Lingu, in the case of Joram-Koloriang road as part of TAH. The said irregularities caused by Govt officers in discharge of their duties have caused wrongful loss to the Govt exchequer thereby attracting provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, it said.
The Detailed Project Report submitted by then DC Lollen based on which the funds were released by GOI and the compensation abstract based on which the funds were disbursed to the beneficiaries had huge discrepancies as also established by a Fact-Finding Committee constituted by the Govt of Arunachal Pradesh.
The whole modus operandi of defrauding the Govt exchequer also involved inclusion of fake and nonexistent persons to whom compensation has been awarded.
The whole act of assessment and disbursement of compensation by then DC Kemo Lollen, DLRSO Bharat Lingu and other officers in discharge of their duties has caused wrongful loss to the Govt and wrongful gain to individuals Likha Maj and others.
This entire process has primarily accrued advantage to Likha Maj who has been one of the biggest beneficiaries in the case thereby implying his collusion and active connivance with the officers of district administration, the SIC informed, adding that the investigation is being conducted in full swing and efforts to unearth the role of more Govt officers being explored, meticulously.
Earlier, the alleged compensation scam concerning the Joram-Koloriang section of two-lane Trans-Arunachal Highway project had evoked strong protests from different quarters with some of the local organizations claiming that the district authority under the then DC Lollen had released huge payment to “artificial” beneficiaries who did not have a single structure along the TAH alignment. Following the hue and cry on the matter, the State Government had constituted a high level Fact-Finding Committee, headed by the Commissioner (Home), to look into the allegations.