ISLAMABAD, July 1: Years of delay in developing its Phase II Extension project and non-delivery of plots promised by the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to a citizen and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) from whom it acquired the land for the project has attracted attention of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Although the CDA ceded most land to DHA, over 868 kanals or 108.5 acres, it was the citizen Abdul Zahoor who ceded 200 kanals who went to the FIA seeking a probe and action to secure him his rights.
Documents seen by Dawn show that alleged irregularities committed in the complicated land deals would extend FIA’s inquiry to Bahria Town (BT), land developer Habib Rafique (Private) Limited (HRL) and Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) also.
DHA Phase II Extension, spread over 55,000 kanals of land in Sihala, Rawat and Humak suburbs of Islamabad, was planned in 2005. The DHA acquired the land from private citizens and the CDA over a period of time but later involved BT, HRL and EOBI for developing the project, which is yet to materialise.
Last week, Abdul Zahoor took his complaint to the FIA, which referred the matter to the officials of the Islamabad zone for necessary action, according to FIA sources.
As for the CDA, it woke up suddenly to its rights after the May 11 general elections. Just five days after the elections threw up a new set of political rulers, it wrote a letter to the DHA inquiring about the 729 developed plots it was promised against 868 kanal prime land it had handed over to the DHA for Phase II Extension.
CDA Member Estate Shaista Sohail conveyed CDA’s concerns to the DHA in the letter.
She wrote: “The CDA Board has taken a serious view of the matter and desires that the DHA provide the requisite maps/layout plans and site demarcation of plots at the earliest. It is a matter of grave concern that while CDA handed over 868 kanals i.e. 108.5 acres of land to the Defence Housing Authority back in 2008-09, the DHA has failed to make good on its part of the agreement vis-à-vis handing over 729 developed plots to the CDA.”
Out of 729 committed plots, DHA handed simply files of only 682 plots. “For the remaining 47 plots, not even files have been handed for five years,” complained the letter, demanding “physical inspection of the plots, maps and layout plans and also coordinate for physical verification/inspection of the allotted plots at earliest.”
Documents available with Dawn say that in May 2005 DHA had formally requested then CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari for the transfer of its 868 kanal land to DHA for the Phase II Extension. The CDA acceded to the request only three years later.
Though the CDA spokesman Malik Saleem expressed ignorance over the matter, citizen Zahoor’s complaint alleged that former CDA chairman Tariq Mehmood Khan, under the influence of the former PPP government, signed the agreement for transferring the CDA land to the DHA in 2008.
His complaint said that in 2009 the DHA had merged the CDA land with the land of ‘Commoners Town’ that the DHA had already acquired.
He claimed that the then DHA administrator, in connivance with property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, his son Ahmed Ali Riaz, HRL and EOBI Chairman Zahid Iqbal Gondal, sold the CDA and Commoners Town land to the EOBI on very exorbitant rate and received Rs16 billion.
But, according to the complainant, the DHA later transferred that amount to Bahria Town’s account under an agreement.
DHA spokesman Mohammad Tariq could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts, but a senior BT official said that mega projects like the Phase II Extension take time to complete.
Col (retired) Khalilur Rehman told Dawn that the project was being executed after completing all the legal requirements.
“There is nothing wrong with the project. We are ready to face any inquiry over the transparency of the project,” he said.