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Brothers wanted in railway land compensation scam surrender

Itanagar: Former Pasighat land management director Ennyo Nangkar and district land revenue settlement officer (DLRSO) Ojing Nangkar, accused of being involved in the Murkongselek to Ruksin railways land compensation irregularities surrendered before the Pasighat district and sessions court in East Siang district on Wednesday.

Special Investigation Cell (Vigilance) SP Hemant Tiwari said both Ennyo and Ojing, who were at large for the past six months, had appeared before the court on Wednesday seeking a bail plea which was rejected.

The hearing was in connection with the SIC (Vigilance) Case No 03/2021 dated 15/03/2021 under sections 409/468/471/120(b) of the IPC read with section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

“The court rejected the bail plea on opposition from the SIC and sent them to 9 days of police custody,” Tiwari said while adding that the SIC would now try to trace more “money trail” (one already established) in the entire process.

Following the approval of the 26-km-long broad gauge railway line from Murkongselek in Assam’s Dhemaji district to Ruksin in Arunachal’s East Siang district in 2012, the North Eastern Frontier Railway (NFR) had in 2017, sanctioned a total of Rs 106 crore as land compensation for Phase 1 and Phase 2 and out of which around Rs 72 crore was disbursed among the beneficiaries.   

“A board was constituted under the then East Siang deputy commissioner Tamio Tatak in 2017 which had recommended paying the same amount of land compensation to the Aruanchalee beneficiaries that were being paid to their Assam counterparts between Murkongselek and Jonai by the railways. Ojing Nangkar, the then DLRSO of Pasighat, was responsible for contacting the Assam government to fix the rate and submit a record of the same to the then East Siang DC,” SP Tiwari said.

“Ojing, however, never contacted the officials of the Assam government and instead used an internal “in-process” communication between the circle officer and sub-divisional officer of Jonai and proposed the rate of Rs. 11, 91,700/- per bigha to the government, without taking the approval of the DC,” he said.

Ojing then sent the file with the inflated rate to the land management directorate which was then headed by Ennyo Nangkar as the director, and who also happens to be his elder brother. Ennyo, on his part, forwarded these exorbitant rates through a handwritten note sheet to the DC Tatak, who later along with Ojing, disbursed the compensation to the tune of Rs 72 crore to the beneficiaries causing heavy loss to the government’s exchequer, the SP said.

DC Tatak who was arrested by the SIC earlier this year in connection with the case has denied his role in fixing the land rate.

The compensation disbursal took place in April 2017 and by that time the Assam government had not even fixed its rates. The compensation was supposed to be disbursed as per the recommendation of the Board but it never happened and there were many irregularities, Tiwari said.

The SP said both Ojing and Ennyo who were at large for the past six months had initially approached the Gauhati High Court, Itanagar Permanent Bench for a pre-arrest bail which was dismissed.

After remaining absconding for about a month they had then approached the Supreme Court by filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) for pre-arrest bail and had got interim relief in the month of May.

The case was taken up for hearing by the Supreme Court on September 21 this year after which the court dismissed the SLP and directed the accused to surrender before the trial court and apply for regular bail.

The accused had taken the services of one of the leading legal luminaries of the country but the SIC was still able to get their police custody, Tiwari said.

All the three prime accused have been arrested by the SIC now, however, there are a few more officials whose role in the case are being investigated, he added. 

There were a total of 43 beneficiaries who have already received the compensation and now we are trying to establish if there were more money trails. We will write to the government to take necessary action and whether they want to go for the recovery process and so on, the SP said.

According to the preliminary calculations of the SIC, the government could have saved around Rs 26 crore out of the Rs 72 crore which was distributed to the beneficiaries.

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