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ISLAMABAD: Two under-construction storeys in Safa Gold Mall were sealed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday.

The authority’s building control directorate and the Islamabad Capital Territory administration conducted the operation to seal the top two floors of the mall where, according to the CDA, construction work was ongoing.

The National Accountability Bureau arrested three CDA officials and the owner of Safa Gold Mall last year on corruption charges, after three additional storeys were added to the mall allegedly in connivance with CDA officials.

An inquiry by a former CDA member engineering had found that three storeys were illegally constructed in the mall.

The inquiry report stated: “In the allotment letter, it was clearly defined that the floor-area ratio of the building would be 1:5 with 100pc coverage and the number of storeys was ground plus four, thus capping the height of the building. In no case could the number of storeys be enhanced in violation of the relevant planning parameters and clauses of the allotment letter.”

Although the inquiry committee had recommended the demolition of the three additional storeys, the CDA did not do so.

Last year, the then member planning proposed to the CDA board that the violators be fined Rs1.7 billion, but the board suggested the cancellation of the plot.

Following this development, NAB, which first began investigating the project in 2013, took action against officials involved in the scam.

A CDA officer said the authority first gave illegal permission in the Safa Gold Mall case but later withdrew it.

CDA spokesperson Safdar Shah confirmed that a sealing operation was held at Safa Gold Mall.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018