ISLAMABAD, July 28: A dispute between two Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials resulted in the pouring forth of fresh details on a land scam. The CDA chairman has called for a probe by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) into the alleged fraud.
There are accusations and counter accusations since both, CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal and senior official of the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) Mansoor Ali Khan are accusing each other.
“How a woman with political connections got a huge plot of land measuring 4,500 square yards in the Diplomatic Enclave,” the CDA chairman, Farkhand Iqbal asked while talking to Dawn.
“NAB should probe the matter since the allotment was given to ‘The Arabian Night Cuisine’ during the tenure of Imtiaz Inayat Elahi and the director — Mansoor Ali Khan — was part of the documentation,” asserted Mr Iqbal.
When the Islamabad High Court (IHC) took notice of the matter, Mr Khan conveyed to the court that he had cancelled the illegal allotment of the multi-billion rupee site, given to a person allegedly connected to an influential person in the Diplomatic Enclave. Documents seen by Dawn revealed that the woman, S.K. was given a licence by DMA, however, she requested for additional construction of pre-fabricated, multi-purpose temporary halls, tents and a kitchen.
A company, ‘S Communication Pvt (Ltd)’ was issued a licence by the DMA in April 2011, and requested for additional construction at the Diplomatic Enclave site.
On March 2012, the urban planning department of the authority, however, requested the senior management that ‘The Arabian Night Cuisine’ should not be given any permission for further expansion or beautification of the landscape, close to its development. The documents showed that The Arabian Night Cuisine was given a licence for an area of only ‘334 square yards.’
“The licensed area measuring 334 square yards shall not be exceeded (for landscaping and temporary structures).”
Documents indicated that the planning wing quoted a clause — when officials were asked for comments — over the expansion of the Arabian Night Cuisine saying: “Beautification of the undeveloped plot can be issued purely on temporary basis till the development of the plot.”
Urban planning wing also issued a letter to the company, saying: “The request for beautification of the Arabian Night Cuisine at the Diplomatic Enclave has been examined and approved.”
But the CDA chairman has a point to make. He asked: “Who allotted this plot on one phone call to the woman? This woman used to visit my office and wait for hours but I never gave her time for a meeting because of my pressing engagements.”
The chairman maintained: “I am myself confused that how one can be allotted a one-kanal (4500 square yard) plot that too on a green belt of the diplomatic enclave.
“I have sealed the record of the DMA and given directions to the magistrate to ensure that no file slips out of the DMA record room, since all these files are to be considered evidence, for future investigations,” he informed.
The chairman said that the director DMA had no authority to cancel or allocate a plot; it is the chairman, who is the competent authority to cancel or allot any piece of land within the capital city.
“Now my director has conveyed to the court that he has saved billions of rupees by cancelling the allotment of the plot. The court should first probe the matter as who allocated this land which resulted in the loss of billions of rupees,” observed the CDA chairman.When approached, Mr Mansoor insisted: “It was 3.26 acres of land, which was encroached by this woman and I have sent a file for cancellation of the allotment to the chairman, five months back but the file was never returned to me.”
“It was just a few days back that I got the file and went for cancellation of this plot,” asserted Mr Mansoor. “The DMA issued an allotment to this woman but she violated her contract and we are bound to cancel any allotment of the plot, where an owner violates the licence agreement, since she has encroached upon more land,” claimed the director.
The director DMA said that he was willing to share evidence with the NAB and would provide a number of documents to the IHC.
He stated: “I am harassed and threatened by the chairman, over my disclosure of this land scam but will not bow down for speaking the truth before the court.”