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FR Tower fire: ACC files 2 corruption cases

  • Published at 12:06 am June 26th, 2019
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File photo: Emergency services combat the fire at a commercial building in Banani that severely lacked firefighting capacities in this photo taken Thursday, March 28, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

ACC  probe finds evidence of corruption at Rajuk and elsewhere

Rajuk’s former chairman, nineteen of his colleagues, and the owner of FR Tower have been  accused of illegally approving the design and construction of FR Tower in Dhaka’s Banani.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed two cases against 23 individuals, including the chairman of Rupayan Housing Estate Ltd, and the chief engineer of Rajdhani UnnayanKartripakkha (Rajuk), when their involvement was discovered in an ACC investigation.

ACC Deputy Director Abu Bakar Siddiqui, the plaintiff, filed both the cases with the ACC's coordinated district office Dhaka 1, on Tuesday.

Some of the  23 accused are: Md Hossain Imam Faruq owner of FR Tower, Rupayan Housing chairman Liaquat Ali Khan Mukul, former Rajuk chairman Md Humayun Khadem, and Saidur Rahman, former Rajuk chief engineer.

In the case statements, the ACC said Rajuk officials and others misused power to give an illegal revised-approval for floor 15 to 18 of FR Tower. Later the building was extended to 23 floors by Rupayan without any kind of approval by Rajuk. They made fake documents of approval. The tall building also did not have approval from the Civil Aviation Authority and other authorities concerned.

Former Rajuk chairman Md Humayun Khadem, and former Rajuk chief engineer Saidur Rahman have been accused of giving illegal approval of up to 18 floors in the case.

FR Tower owner Md Hossain Imam Faruq, and Rupayan Housing Chairman Liaquat Ali Khan Mukul, were involved in signing a contract for  the illegal extension, ACC said in the case statements.

The tower also did not maintain the required 2.5m free space clearance  on either side of the building, as shown  in the building design. ACC found, 380 sq ft of parking space instead of 827.

Moreover, the whole building was being used as a commercial building which the design did not approve. The design slated the first 13 floors for commercial purposes, and from the 14th to the 18th floor were supposed to be residential floors.

There were also irregularities in building setback, width of stairs, placement of 3 lifts, and the width of two entry paths.

ACC also found that owner Faruk and managing director of Rupayan Housing, Liakat Ali Khan Mukul, in the second phase of construction,built up to the 23rd floor from the 18th level, without clearance from Rajuk. But some authorized officers and building inspectors went to supervise the illegal extension work, and they have also been accused.

Some Rajuk estate department officials provided loan sanction letters to Rupayan illegally and some computer operators from Rajuk approved the false design for extending the building, according to the ACC.

In the case, Tasvir-Ul-Alam, managing director of Quasem Industries Ltd is accused of  buying the illegal 20th, 21st, and 22nd floors. 

Saroar Mahmud, director general of the ACC, told reporters: “They have no clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority, no Environmental Clearance Certificate, nor the approval of the Fire Service."

He said the ACC investigation officer could have anyone arrested and include others in the case if they were found guilty during investigation, he added.

On March 28, the deadly fire at the FR Tower claimed the lives of 26 people and injured more than 70.

Multiple probe committees were formed to investigate the incident and determine the ones responsible for the design malpractices that ended up killing and injuring so many.