–Investigation team admits failure to substantiate allegations, including fraud
ISLAMABAD: FIA Special Investigation Unit has dropped all charges against the accused of mega-scandal involving Capital Development Authority (CDA) as it submitted an inquiry report in Grand Hyatt case, also known as Constitution Avenue One before the Supreme Court (SC).
Major allegations included the leasing out of land without the prior approval of the cabinet as the construction involved changes in the master plan of the capital, the unfair bidding process, signing of the lease deed instead of a lease agreement, failure to construct the hotel tower, construction of luxury apartments instead of serviced apartments, illegal rescheduling of apartments and the loss of Rs25 billion to the national exchequer because of fraud, forgery and criminal breach of trust.
The SIU investigation found that the location of the site was wrongly attributed to be located in Zone-IV while its actual location was Zone-III. The deed was also amended as per the procedure mentioned in the lease deed and nothing happened. No objections were raised on the record of CDA, banks or Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) regarding the change of name from BNP Group to BNP Pvt Ltd.
The inquiry also found that CDA cancelled the lease on July 29, 2016, without any justifiable ground and that CAA gave the NOC for the construction of the hotel. Also, no evidence of the loss of Rs25 billion to the national exchequer could be substantiated. The report said that the accused presented various documents to prove their innocence and the team did not rebut such evidence.
The Constitution Avenue One controversy revolves around the construction of Grand Hyatt Hotel and two towers of apartments near the red zone of the capital. Back in 2016, CDA finally sealed off the hotel, prompting its owners to move the court for a stay order which was ultimately granted. In a later development, the CDA chairman had admitted that former CDA chairman Kamran Lashari had relaxed the rules in order to accommodate high rise buildings in the capital.
CDA, the civic agency responsible for the development and maintenance of the capital, was under pressure as the owners of those apartments included influential people such as Prime Minister Imran Khan, Justice Nasirul Mulk, Salman Bashir, Ahmed Mukhtar, Faryal Ali Gauhar, Jahangir Khan, Haris Khan Toru, Rashid Khan, Shazia Hafeez Shaikh, Muhammad Hashim Khan, Dr Asad Zia, Sheikh Amir Waheed, Shahzad Waseem, Muhammad Asif Sandila, Mehboobul Haque, Naseem Zehra Ikhlaq, Khawaja Muhammad Asad and Kashmala Tariq.
CDA maintained that the BNP Group committed serious violations during the constructions about which CDA had no knowledge. Originally, a skyscraper hotel and two towers containing apartments were to be built. Even after a decade of possession, the group built grey structures of two apartment towers while no progress was made on the hotel building at all.
CDA’s Building Control Section Director Shafi Marwat told Pakistan Today that BNP Group had committed a number of violations. “They made more apartments than they were allowed and sold them when they were only permitted to rent them out. Also, the construction of the hotel tower did not even start in a decade or so,” he said.
Marwat also said that the payment of installments was also rescheduled till 2026.