Because of his ties with BNP top brass, Tasvir got away with illegally building five extra storeys on top of the FR Tower during a BNP government
Central BNP committee member and Kurigram BNP President Tasvir Ul Islam has been identified as one of the owners of the illegally occupied floors in FR Tower in Dhaka's Banani.
Tasvir, also the managing director of Quasem Drycells Company Ltd, illegally built five storeys on top of the 18-storey building during BNP-Jamaat's rule from 2001-2006.
According to Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha or Rajuk sources, FR tower owner Faruq and developer company Rupayun Group jointly applied to Rajuk for approval of their construction design in 1996.
However, after BNP-Jamaat came to power in 2001, despite Rajuk approving only 18 storeys, five more were added to the building to extend it up to 23 floors.
Close relationship with BNP top brass
Tasvir bought the 20th and 21st floors from deceased Jatiya Party lawmaker Maidul Islam, who had bought them from the developer company. Later, Tasvir changed the building's design and added two extra floors on top of the roof.
Because of Tasvir's close relationship with the then-Housing and Planning Minister Mirza Abbas, Tasvir managed to get away with the illegal construction, as Rajuk took no action to stop him.
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This correspondent tried to reach Tasvir over the phone, but failed. Tasvir did not pick up calls or responded to any texts.
An official of Tasvir's company, requesting anonymity, confirmed Tasvir's company Quasem Drycells still has offices in the floors occupied by him.
Rajuk Chairman Abdur Rahman said: "We have gone through the FR Tower files. They show Rajuk only approved the construction of 18 storeys on December 12, 1996.
"Then the building owner showed us another design plan on February 23, 2005, but it did not match the Rajuk-approved designs in our records." Abdur added.
After an investigation was launched in 2007, Rajuk found FR Tower had been built flouting building codes.
“We will identify all the people involved in this infraction of the law and hold them accountable. Initiatives will also be taken to remove illegal portions of the building,” the Rajuk chairman said.
Conflicts between tower owner and developer
There has been a conflict between the land owner and the developer company of the building over indiscipline, arson, damage to the building, and fear of criminal activities, following a letter sent by Rajuk, to the building authorities for flouting building codes in the construction of FR Tower.
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FR Tower owner Faruq issued a notice mentioning the letter, where Tasvir was termed as an illegal occupant. The notice also mentioned various irregularities within the building compound.
The notice said: "Rajuk has warned building authorities for illegal construction of several floors not consistent with the approved designs, and asked the owners to bring the height of the building to the approved level.
"Despite our steps to bring the tower under Rajuk regulations, we saw that partitions have been built for security staff on the floors," the notice further said.
Rajuk had requested Tasvir to remove all his furniture and materials from his occupied floors within 24 hours to avoid any problems, the notice said.
If there was any indiscipline or obstacle, or any criminal activity or any damage was brought to the building, legal action would be taken against the people involved, it warned.
However, Tasvir continued to ignore the notice, and Rajuk did not take any action - before Thursday's fire occurred.
A devastating fire occurred in the FR Tower Thursday afternoon – killing 25 people, and injuring 70.