ISLAMABAD, Dec 18: It may sound bizarre but it is a fact that a former chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) took away 166 official files while leaving the charge.
And even after the passage of over two months, Farkhand Iqbal is keeping the files and paying no heed to the repeated reminders from the cabinet division for their return.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has now ordered a special inquiry against Mr Iqbal for holding the record, an official close to the development told Dawn.
Mr Iqbal, a BPS-21 officer of the planning commission, was brought to the CDA by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as chairman in December 2011. He served on the post till October 2012 when the current prime minister removed him.
CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid confirmed the number of files which Mr Iqbal ordered to be transferred to his residence before quitting the charge. However, Mr Sajid said after repeated requests the former chairman had so far returned 66 files. When asked about the nature of the files, Mr Sajid said being chairman he was in possession of a whole range of documents.
However, another CDA official said the files mainly related to the allotment of residential and commercial plots. During his stay in the office, Mr Iqbal declared many residential buildings as commercial. Under the by-laws of the civic agency, commercial use of residential buildings is not allowed. And record about such transactions was also with the former chairman, said the official.
To another question, the official said Mr Iqbal had transferred these files during the last few months of his tenure when he was told by his sources in the power corridors that the new prime minister had made up his mind to replace him.
After Mr Iqbal’s refusal to return the files, the prime minister has directed both the cabinet and establishment divisions to take disciplinary action against him, said the official.
“If the issue is taken seriously by the high-ups, Mr Iqbal could land in serious trouble for confiscating the record of a government organisation he was no more related to,” said the official who did not want to be quoted. More specifically, the official added, Mr Iqbal would be proceeded against under the government’s efficiency and disobey rules (E&D). In case he is found guilty, Mr Iqbal’s can be a sure short case of dismissal from service.
According to a CDA official, who had closely watched the nine-month stint of Mr Iqbal, the former chairman always acted in a discreet manner. For example, he added, under his command decisions were largely made in haste without mandatory vetting from the departments concerned.
According to another official, Mr Iqbal’s surprise transfer from the planning commission to the CDA in December 2011 was made in return for his active role in getting the Rs6 billion light emitting diode project approved for the CDA.
But as luck would have it, the LED project hit snags at the very outset, and never took off from the PC-I stage. On Monday, the National Assembly was informed that the PC-I was withdrawn from the commission on the pretext that since the funding facility for the project under Energy Efficiency Investment Programme of ADB had elapsed, the CDA would explore other avenues for it.
It further said the Islamabad High Court had also issued restraining orders on a writ petition due to which the project was kept pending. Under the project, about 65,000 conventional streetlights were proposed to be replaced with LED lights all over Islamabad.
Moreover, according to media reports, PM Ashraf was not happy with Mr Iqbal and, therefore, replaced him with Syed Tahir Shahbaz.