Karachi police on Monday registered a case against the builder of Nasla Tower and officials of various civic agencies and departments in pursuance of a Supreme Court order.
The apex court on Monday had ordered police and the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to take departmental action and separately register cases against owners of the building, officials concerned of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society and other government departments for giving approval of such a construction in violation of the law.
The bench had observed that the SBCA officials had violated the law and each and every official involved was liable not only to face departmental inquiries but also be booked under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.
The bench had ordered for two separate first information reports (FIR) to be registered against the SBCA officials and other government officials concerned at the ACE and police station concerned, while directing the ACE and the DIG-East to file compliance reports in one week.
On Monday, Station House Officer Muhammad Khushnud Javed registered an FIR at Ferozeabad police station under sections 34 (common intention), 161 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect to an official act), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture), 408 (criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 447 (criminal trespass) of the PPC.
The FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said the city commissioner was ordered to submit a report to the court after an investigation from various departments related to the tower.
"[When] the Karachi commissioner got the aforementioned plots investigated from all the departments, it was found that the aforementioned plot [for Nasla Tower] is 780 square yards in the SMCHS (Sindh Muslim Cooperative Housing Society) papers," the FIR said.
It added that the society had allotted 780 square yards to the owner/builder, Abdul Qadir, who — in collusion with his construction partners and officials from SMCHS, SBCA, Master Plan Department (MPD) and other departments — had erected Nasla Tower on 1,121 square yards — illegally building on 341 square yards of a service road — and sold flats and shops to people.
It said the apex court had ordered the DIG East to register a case against all individuals involved in the irregularities of Nasla Tower from the allotment, construction and mapping. The FIR added that it was already proven from the investigation of records that the building was constructed with "mala fide intent and collusion of related departments".
As a result and because of the court order, the FIR said a case was being registered against Abdul Qadir, his accomplice builders, the SBCA chairman and secretary who allotted the land, SMCHS officials, MPD director and deputy director, their officials as well as those of other departments involved in the scheme.
Demolition orders of Nasla Tower
On June 16, a three-judge SC bench, presided by the CJP, had initially ordered the demolition of the 15-storey Nasla Tower for encroaching on the land meant for a service road.
Issuing a detailed order for the same on June 19, the court had also directed the builders of Nasla Tower to refund the amount to the registered buyers of residential and commercial units within three months.
Later, the builder of Nasla Tower had filed a review petition against the June 16 order, which was dismissed by the apex court last month.
On Oct 25, the SC had directed the city commissioner to demolish Nasla Tower through "controlled blasting" within a week and submit a report. Companies were subsequently told to submit their respective demolition costs until two were shortlisted.
Subsequently, district administration served notices to the residents of Nasla Tower earlier in October, directing them to vacate the 15-storey building by Oct 27 or face coercive action by relevant authorities. By Oct 28, almost all families had vacated their respective apartments.
The city administration had then sought directions of the apex court to finalise the demolition of Nasla Tower as one firm sought Rs220 million for razing the high-rise via controlled implosion while the other offered free-of-cost service via mechanical means.
The tower's demolition finally began on Nov 24 when the apex court chastised the Karachi commissioner over his failure to raze the tower, following which work to tear the building down started in earnest.