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SC questions CDA’s joint venture with co-op society

ISLAMABAD: The chief justice on Wednesday observed that Multi Professionals was a cooperative society while CDA had given it a contract for establishing a new sector comprising 54 acres of land.

A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing a suo moto case regarding the joint venture of the CDA with Multi-Professionals Cooperative Society (MPCS) for the construction of sector E-11 in Islamabad.

Earlier the court had observed that the agreement between two parties was not transparent. Zulfiqar Malik, counsel for MPCS, submitted that the project was completed on May 2010. He submitted that MPCS had deposited Rs950 million before taking possession of the land.

The CJ observed that first of all a cooperative society was not entitled to take a contract regarding the development of a new sector and secondly it was given to MPCS without making it public through advertisement. He observed that there was something fishy that’s why after that no chairman of the CDA tried to see this matter. He was of the view that it was public money, which was not spent in a proper manner.

The CJ observed that it was a very sensitive case involving billions of public money as they were making a five-star hotel, hospital and many other constructions of public use.

Zulfiqar Malik submitted that a five-star hotel was constructed on 22 kanals of land, hospital was on 26 kanals and office buildings on 98 kanals. The CJ asked him whether he knew the price per kanal of land in that area. He submitted that it was Rs134,000 per square yard.

Akram Sheikh, while assisting the court on court’s request, submitted that it was a far bigger scam than any other scam reported to this court and the amount in this scam was in trillions of rupees. He submitted that there was no provision whatsoever in the CDA rules to give such a big contract to a private party to establish a new sector. He submitted that in that area, only one kanal was worth Rs60 million and 54 acres of land has been given against the law.

Akram Sheikh further submitted that it was initiated by K U Farooqi, the then cabinet secretary and now the same Farooqi is the president of the said society. He submitted that the joint venture agreement was allowed by the CDA in 1992. He submitted that the society was introduced to the CDA by K U Farooqi, sitting president of the society. He argued that this plant was grown in 1992 and now was bearing fruit. He argued that the society was using law-enforcing agencies in taking possession of some areas under these 54 acres through CDA.

The CJ asked him as to what was his opinion about the contract. Akram Sheikh submitted that it was totally ultra vires and illegal. He submitted that no chairman or even interior minister has the right to make such an agreement with any society. “Suppose if I had my friend as chairman CDA, do you allow him to sell to me the Community Centre in Islamabad?” he added.

The case was adjourned till today (Thursday).

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