ISLAMABAD - Controversial restoration and subsequent transfer of a high-priced commercial plot in Sector G-9 to a business entity allegedly owned by a member of the Parliament belonging to ruling Awami National Party (ANP) at a throwaway price caught the attention of the upper house of the Parliament on Tuesday.
Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bokhari - stunned over the spine -chilling facts provided by CDA pointing towards several irregularities and stamping the fact that deal was struck purely on the basis of favouritism - referred the matter to Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat saying he is astonished that how in a matter of just two days the allotment letter of the plot was issued by CDA and transferred the same to another firm.
Through his question, Haji Ghulam Ali of JUI-F has asked about the relevant details including the date of creation, auction, cancellation of allotment, restoration, transfer and bifurcation of plot no. 29 located at Sector G-9, Karachi Company.
Through his written reply to the aforementioned question, Minster Incharge of the Cabinet Division informed the legislators that plot no. 29, Markaz G-9, measuring 4088.9 square yards was created in year 1984 and it was originally meant for the construction of cinema house over it.
In the same year, 1984, the cinema plot was presented for open auction to bidders and a firm, M/s Friends Builders owns by famous film star and comedian late Rangeela, offered the highest bid of Rs3625 per square yard. So, the plot measuring 4088.9 square yards was auctioned against Rs14.82 million.
However, the firm M/s Friends Builders remained fail to account 40 percent of the total premium amount in given time that resulted in cancellation of that plot on the basis of non-payment within stipulated time. The plot was cancelled on May 5, 1985.
In October 1999 CDA’s Planning Wing after the approval of the competent authority, the Chairman CDA, decided to change the trade of plot. The trade was changed from cinema plot to commercial plot and subsequently the plot no 29 was re-planned and five equal-sized commercial plots including plot nos. 29-A, 29-B, 29-C, 29-D and 29-E were carved out of plot no 29.
Later, in year 2002 under the improvement plan of G-9 Markaz the aforementioned plots were once again re-planned. Plot nos. 29-A, 29-B, 29-C, 29-D and 29-E were clubbed and plot no.29 was restored but half to its original size, 2088.99 square yards. The original size of the plot was 4088.9 square yards, while the remaining land was deliberately left as open space.
After the change of trade and size of the plot, the civic agency in year 2003 decided to re-auction it under the category of commercial plot instead of cinema plot. It was re-auctioned in an open auction held on April 4, 2003 and a firm Mr Arif & Others offered the highest bid of Rs156,800. Being the highest bidder, the plot was given to M/s Arif and Others against Rs327.5 million.
History repeated itself and plot was once again cancelled as successful bidder, M/s Arif & Others did not submit the portion of premium amount in given time. And on December 13, 2003 the plot was cancelled owing to non-payment of cost of plot.
After the lapse of seven years, M/s Arif & Others requested the city managers to restore the aforementioned plot. In connivance with the CDA officials M/s Arif managed to restore the plot on April 21, 2010. The matter of fact is that plot was restored at the same price that was offered in year 2003 contrary to the fact that real estate sector in federal capital had seen an unprecedented boom during period.
Only nominal charges counting in thousands were charged on the account of fine and plot was resorted.
Allotment letter of the plot was issued on November 4, 2011 after the payment of 40 percent of the total premium and consequently possession of plot was handed over on November 4, 2011. Interestingly, on the same date, November 4, 2011, the plot was transferred from the name of original bidder, M/s Arif & Others to the name of M/s Awami Trade Centre.
The ‘efficient’ officers of the civic body, who otherwise took a great deal of time even to issue a birth certificate, did all that exercise within two days. And it was because of that influential politician belonging to ANP who used to run the proceedings of the lower house of the parliament in the absence of Speaker National Assembly.
There were also grave irregularities in payment mode adopted by the original allottee, M/s Arif & Others, post dated checks were given, while CDA transferred the plot in the name of M/s Awami Trade Centre, business entity allegedly own by ANP MNA, contrary to the fact at that time total amount of the plot was not deposited.
The plot was transferred by CDA to M/s Awami Trade Centre when only 40 percent of the total premium amount was recovered by the civic agency while 60 percent was yet to pay. That is a grave violation of defined rules.
Also the floor area ratio (FAR) of plot no 29 is 1:3 (that is basement plus three floors), but the construction on the plot is in full swing on the basis of 2:4 (two basements plus four floors).
Another favour CDA extended to ruling politician includes the size of plot. The plot was re-planned as 2088.88 square yards instead of original 4088.9 square yards. And now the open space measuring around 2000 square yards has been converted into a vast car parking area in a bid to double the prices of shops and offices at under construction plaza.