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CDA quashes balloting for plots worth crores

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has quashed the balloting for the allotment of plots worth crores of rupees to the remaining (left over) affected people of Bheka Sayedan after detecting a series of serious malpractices during balloting.

The balloting, which the CDA has done on June 3, 2011 under main award of 1st October 1985, has been quashed on the grounds that it was not done in a transparent manner, reveals an official document and accordingly it asks for conducting a fresh and transparent balloting within a week under supervision of Director Land and Rehabilitation of CDA.

Though this timely action on the part of the CDA superiors has prevented another scam developing into a serious problem for them, yet many heads have become vulnerable to be rolled as several instances of malpractices were pointed out in the balloting process involving various administrative tiers of CDA.

“Only a formal enquiry in to this effect can determine the role of those who were involved in the process of balloting as either they were fully involved or they demonstrated just another round of negligence or they allowed themselves to play in the hands of those who were, in fact, orchestrating the entire process”, commented an insider.

Member Planning CDA Tahir Shamshad refused to talk on the issue on the pretext that since he has taken the matter as Member Estate and now he has just left the charge of Member Estate and new Member Estate has taken over the charge.

Deputy Director Land, Sayeda Shafaq, when contacted, was not aware of the development that the balloting has been quashed and new balloting is going to be held within one week’s time. However, Sayeda told The News that “I was not in picture as far as formulating the policy and procedure for conducting this balloting is concerned as I was just part and parcel of the proceedings held on the day of balloting”.

Deputy Director Rehabilitation Mohammad Abid was of the firm belief that the entire process has been carried out in the most transparent manner, as the allottees were present on the occasion, which is enough to believe that the process was not fluid. However, when asked why the process has been reversed and why the proceedings have been quashed, he replied: “I don’t know, this should be answered by those who issued orders to this effect”.

Waqar Ali Khan, Director Land and Rehabilitation, could not be contacted since he did not pick up his cell phone despite repeated attempts.

These malpractices show that 62 plots in sector F-11 and 63 plots in sector I-10 have been placed in balloting, however, in reality only 12 plots of sector I-10 were placed in slips while out of 54 affectees only 6 got plots in the less attractive sector I-10, whereas all others have got allotment in the most expensive sector F-11 of Islamabad. Different sizes of slips have been used for sector F-11 and sector I-10 plots and no plot numbers were written on the slips at the time of balloting and this was done by the concerned staff of CDA later on.

Besides, different style of folding were used for plots in both sectors and during mock exercise in front of both Deputy Directors Land, Syeda Shafaq and Deputy Director Rehabilitation Mohammad Abid, six slips in folded form were picked up and all these were found of sector I-10.

Immediately after balloting, flaws in the process became visible following which Member Planning CDA Tahir Shamshad, while officiating as Member Estate CDA, has asked both Syeda Shafaq and Mohammad Abid to appear before him and explain the process of balloting. Strangely enough, both of them informed him that due processes were followed and nothing wrong was committed.

However, on receiving comments from public, both deputy directors were called by Member Planning while acting as Member Estate CDA along with balloting slips used for the purpose and consequently it was proved that the balloting was not done in a transparent manner.

As per details available on official record, the CDA in the last week of May 2011 had formed a balloting committee headed by Director Land and Rehabilitation Waqar Ali Khan with Deputy Director Rehabilitation, Deputy Director Land, Admin Officer Rehabilitation, and Sanam Shah, Dealing Assistant, as members.

However, the balloting was conducted under the supervision of Deputy Director (Land) Syeda Shafaq, as the Director (Land and Rehabilitation) Waqar Ali Khan was busy in DAC meeting in the Cabinet. Sayeda Shafaq termed the balloting as transparent and so did Waqar Ali Khan. However, endorsing the process as transparent by the Director Land & Rehabilitation Waqar Ali Khan also creates confusion as he was not part of the proceedings but endorsed it when the matter was brought to his notice.

The balloting was held in the office of Deputy Director Land, Syeda Shafaq, when about 30 affectees also participated and witnessed the balloting proceedings while the names of 42 affectees, whose files were complete in all respects, were included in the balloting and the remaining cases were declared incomplete and were not included in the balloting due to non-availability of files.

Later, the Member Planning, who was also at that time holding the additional charge of Member Estate, directed that before issuance of any allotment letter, legal opinion should also be obtained regarding implementation of this particular award in the light of Supreme Court’s Malpur Judgment.

The legal advisor gave the opinion that the CDA can proceed in this case in accordance with the law and policy. It is noteworthy that the CDA Board on February 1, 2011 had decided allotment of plots to the left over affectees of the original award dated October 1, 1985, who voluntarily handed our possession to CDA in Sector F-11 through ballot while the affectees of main village of Bheka Sayedan, where possession is not with CDA, should not to be considered for allotment and not to be included in the balloting.

The allotment of plots to the affectees of Bheka Sayedan had been approved by chairman CDA way back in 1990 and allotment letters had already been issued to 382 affectees in 1991. However, after these allotments, further allotments were stalled because of several rounds of investigation first by FIA and then by NAB and finally by Chairman CDA on December 20, 2005 because of adverse possession of the Abadi Deh area.

Similarly, Abadi Deh’s (list A) allotment had been stalled due to non-handing over of possession to CDA while the affectees of Bheka Sayedan (list B) have neither been illegal owners nor have they refused to give possession to CDA.

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