Probe find RAJUK irregularities in constructing 5 'FR Tower' floors
Published : Sunday, 12 May, 2019 at 3:24 PM Count : 234
The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha or RAJUK, which said that five of FR Tower’s top floors were “illegally” built, now stands accused of committing irregularities in granting Rupayan Housing Estate permission to take out a loan against three of those floors.
Rupayan asserts that the RAJUK clearance is proof that the floors were raised “legally”.
RAJUK officials, however, are adamant that Rupayan had not taken permission to erect the five additional floors on top of the originally planned 18-storey structure, accusing the firm of using a ‘fake’ building plan to do so, reports bdnews24.com.
A housing and public works ministry probe committee, formed after deaths of 27 people in a fire at the 23-storey tower at Banani in Dhaka on Mar 28, has found the irregularities in clearing the floors for loans.
The panel has investigated if there were any faults in the design and if rules were properly followed in constructing the office building.
The scene of the devastating fire in Dhaka's Banani is cordoned off with a yellow tape on Friday. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove
GSP Finance, a financial institution, approved a Tk 36 million loan for Rupayan in January, 2006 under a tri-partite deal following which Quasem Drycells, the buyer of the three floors, repaid the debt.
RAJUK’s incumbent officials claim that the then officials at its estate and land department had signed off on the loan agreement unlawfully the next month.
Joint Secretary Md Fahimul Islam, the member secretary of the investigation committee, sent a letter to RAJUK on Apr 16 this year, seeking names of the officials who had signed the note clearing the deal.
RAJUK replied two days later, naming six signatories. They are estate and land department member (deputy secretary) Md Rezaul Karim Tarafdar, directors Md Shamsul Alam and Muhammad Shawkat Ali, assistant director Shah Muhammad Sadrul Alam, supervising assistant director Jahanara Begum and office assistant-cum-computer operator Mojibur Rahman Molla.
Of them, Sadrul, is still working at RAJUK, Mojibur is suspended while the four others have either retired or been relieved of duties.
Housing and Public Works Minister Rezaul Karim says he has received the investigation report.
“Names of some Rajuk officials have come out in the investigation. They were responsible,” the minister told bdnewes24.com, promising to take action against everyone, including the owners and builders, involved in the scandal.
He declined revealing details of the investigation now. “We will organise a press conference next week to publicise the report,” he said.
Rupayan Provided ‘Fake’ Plan
Earlier after the fatal fire incident, RAJUK Chairman Abdur Rahman had told bdnews24.com that the FR Tower builders had submitted a plan for approval in 1996 and then another in 2005 when starting the construction work.
“There is a drawing of up to the 18th floor. It matches the one in our files. But the 23-storey plan they are showing now has no similarities with the one we have,” he had said.
He did not take bdnews24.com’s phone calls on Saturday for comment on the findings of the housing ministry investigation.
The plan recently showed by Rupayan is “100 percent fake”, another Rajuk official, requesting anonymity, has said.
He admitted that the then Rajuk officials had been involved in irregularities in connection with the construction of FR Tower.
“No-one would be able to find it (the irregularities) out if the tower did not catch fire,” he added.
Rupayan Chairman Liaquat Ali Khan Mukul, accused of culpable homicide in a case over the deaths in the fire, is abroad, according to company officials.
Patwary Jahir Ullah, an adviser to Rupayan Housing Estate Limited, reiterated the claim that it constructed the impugned floors with RAJUK’s approval.
“We are still saying that that part of our building is legitimate. It’s clear that RAJUK had approved our design and given clearance to apply for a loan (against the floors),” he said.
“If someone is to be blamed, it should be those RAJUK officials. We don’t know who had signed the documents,” he added.