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FR Tower Probe Reports disclosed

Irregularity found in building upper 8 floors, 67 persons responsible

Published : Thursday, 23 May, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 868

The probe bodies of the Housing and Public Works Ministry and Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha (RAJUK) have found irregularities in taking approval and constructing the upper six floors of Banani's FR Tower.
According to the probe body report, RAJUK has not followed existing laws in giving approval for construction of 16 to 18 floors after construction of the 15-storied building.
After construction of 18th floor, the Rupayan Group built the next five floors up to 23rd floor.
"The Rupayan Group and FR Tower authorities could not show any documents of approval for construction of the five floors. No design of the five floors was found in the RAJUK also. They even could not show the documents of depositing fees for the approval," Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim claimed while disclosing the probe reports on Wednesday at a press conference held in the ministry conference room.
He claimed that the last three floors were built completely illegally. Some of the RAJUK officials and real estate company Rupayan Group, land owners and the builders are responsible for the illegal construction.
In the press conference, the minister also disclosed names of at least 67 officers and employees of RAJUK and the ministry of housing and public works and real estate company Rupayan Group, land owners and the builders involved in irregularities for the approval and construction work of FR Tower.
Former RAJUK chairman Humayun Khadem, ex-RAJUK member DM Bepari, former deputy secretary (estate and land) of the Housing and Public Works Ministry Rezaul Karim Tarafder, former deputy secretary (estate and land) of the housing Shamsul Alam, Senior Assistant Secretary (estate and land) of the Housing Muhammad Shawkat Ali were also on the list responsible for FR tower construction irregularities and design approval process.
The two separate probe committees - one formed by the Housing and Public Works Ministry and other by the RAJUK - to find out causes for losing lives of 26 innocent people in Banani's FR Tower fire incident.
Ministry's Additional Secretary Yakub Ali Patwary, the head of the eight-member investigation committee, submitted the report before the minister.
Disclosing the names of the responsible persons, SM Rezaul Karim said the authority will not legalise any illegal activities of any offender as it may encourage others. To ensure it, the authority will take steps to demolish the illegal portion of the building following the legal procedures, as no one can go to courts to stop the work.
"The RAJUK had given approval for 15-storey building. Later, the developer company has applied for extension the building vertically to 18th floor maintaining RAJUK's rules and regulations properly. But the approval was not given following the proper construction law. The construction from 18th floor up to 23rd floor is totally illegal," he added.
Rezaul Karim Tarafder, member (estate and land), Shamsul Alam, director (estate and land), Muhammad Shawkat Ali, deputy director (estate and land), Shah Md Badrul Alam, assistant director, Jahanara Begum, assistant director and Mujibur Rahman Molla, office assistant cum computer operator were involved in helping the Rupayan group to get loan, the probe report said.  
RAJUK's ex-authorized officer Syed Nazmul Huda, assistant authorized officer Bashir Uddin Khan, other officers and employees of that period were involved in signing the illegal and fake plan, the reports said.
According to the probe reports, at least 18 officers and employees between July 2005 and July 2008 including chief building inspector Mahabub Hossain Sarker, building inspectors Abdul Ghani and Awarangazeb Siddiquee were involved in constructing the illegal portion of FR tower.
Ex-RAJUK chairman Humayun Khadem cannot avoid his responsibility as the authorized officer Syed Maqbul Ahmed approved the FR Tower plan and design violating a circular issued in 1984 (old) and 1996 which Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) fixed the height of a building up to155 feet, but FR Tower's height is 193 feet, the probe report said.
"We are yet to take any action against involved officials and employees. The process of legal action against the involved RAJUK and ministry staffs will begin from Thursday," he said in reply to a query.
He further said many officials already went to retirement and they will be also brought under the trial.
"Those who are now serving under different ministries will be asked their respective head of the departments for taking action as per probe report.
Mainly, the Public Administration Ministry will take actions against those culprits, who served on deputation to the authority. The ministry or department concerned will file departmental cases against the persons involved in FR Tower construction irregularities," the Housing Minister said.
However, RAJUK will take actions against its officials and employees concerned responsible for the incident and construction of some parts of the building, the minister added.
He said cases had already been filed against Rupayan Chairman Liaquat Ali Khan Mukul and land owners.

At least 26 people were killed and around 100 others injured on March 28 this year as a deadly fire tore through 22-storey FR Tower in the capital's Banani area.

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