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Court asks for record of charity plots

ISLAMABAD, April 28: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to come up with a complete record of plots the authority allegedly doled out to its employees in the prized sectors in violation of rules.

On a suo motu a three-member SC bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali had taken up an application by M N Rehman, a former government employee, accusing the CDA of robbing the national exchequer of Rs18 billion by distributing plots among its employees on the basis of 20 per cent quota in sectors like I-8/3.

Addressed to Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in a five-page application in Urdu, the applicant, who was not present in the court, alleged that the CDA bosses deliberately misled the superior judiciary to get a judgement in their favour.

In an earlier litigation on a petition of the employees of Federal Housing Foundation, the application alleged the CDA deliberately hoodwink the SC in 2006 and the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2004 by claiming that its employees were entitled to 20 per cent quota in all the housing schemes of Islamabad.

Contrary to what was said before the courts, the CDA Lands Regulation 1993 is silent about any such privilege for the authority’s employees. Moreover, the updated regulations of 2005 only suggest five per cent quota, the application claimed. Sectors like I-8/3, I-8/2, D-12 and E-12 where plots have been allotted fall under the old regulations of 1993, which did not talk about 20 per cent entitlement.

The application alleged that in its report the CDA wrongly informed the LHC and, then in appeal, the SC that they were left with only 61 plots after allotting 282 plots out of a total 343 in the sector I-8/3. Because of wrong statement, the application maintained, the courts ordered the CDA to honour the 20 per cent quota for its employees while allotting the rest of 61 plots.

After seeking a favourable interpretation from a legal adviser and from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the CDA under the guise of implementing the court’s judgment, allegedly distributed 4,000 plots among its employees in all sectors of the capital on the basis of 20 per cent quota. The application said many junior officers benefited twice or thrice as many plots were doled out to officers on deputation who sold them for Rs25 million each.

Distribution of these 4,000 plots meant for auctioning, according to the CDA’s land regulations, caused estimated loss of Rs18 billion to the national kitty, the application claimed.

Even open spaces and green areas were not spared, the applicant alleged. He cited a 1986 cabinet decision during the tenure of late Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo that ordered the CDA to protect open spaces and green areas of the capital instead of converting them into residential areas. But flouting the cabinet directives and the master plan, the application said CDA distributed plots among its employees by converting open spaces into residential areas.

After going through the application, the SC directed Chaudhry Ramzan, counsel for the CDA, to submit a “concise statement” suggesting how many plots were allotted and how many times to each employee.

In its order, the court also noted that 4,000 plots were allotted in flagrant violation of the CDA rules and policies. The case will be taken up again after two weeks.

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