|HC show-cause notice to Centre, State, NHAI|
GUWAHATI, Sept 15 - Nearly a year after The Assam Tribune reported large-scale discrepancy hinting what could turn out to be one of the biggest land acquisition compensation scams in the name of four-lane road project in the Dimapur-Assam portion in Karbi Anglong district, the Gauhati High Court has issued show-cause notices to the Centre, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), State government and the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, besides 30 others as to why an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should not be ordered into the matter, which apparently involves a large sum of money belonging to the State exchequer.
The court also asked the Centre, NHAI and the General Manager (Project) of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) to file a joint written statement explaining the matter para-wise.
In response to a public interest litigation (47/2020) filed by one Jeevan Munda, the court further directed the Secretary of the Department of Hill Areas, Government of Assam to take instructions and records from various authorities and file his personal affidavit.
The news report published on September 30 last year titled ‘Land compensation diverted to ghost names’ highlighted how names of legitimate landowners were deleted, new fake dag numbers created, and a huge amount of funds released as compensation from the NHIDCL stands diverted towards ‘ghost’ names.
The report further stated that in the Dimapur-Assam portion four-lane road project, which covers a stretch of 14 kilometres, many original land owners have been left out of the final list of beneficiaries even as a number of fictitious names have crept in.
The deprived land owners had also alleged that many revenue department staff, including mandals and mouzadars, had replaced the names of original land owners by their own names to divert the compensation amount, which may run into crores of rupees.
One of the deprived beneficiaries had also claimed that a mandal even issued three cheques worth Rs 3.3 lakh (approx), Rs 1.90 lakh (approx) and Rs 2.29 lakh (approx) from his personal account, in lieu of the compensation money due that was supposed to be much higher.
The next date of hearing has been fixed on October 20.