City authorities have started cracking down on buildings with no, or inadequate, fire-fighting systems
Rupayan Group has been unable to produce any information to Rajdhani Unnayan Kartirpakkha (Rajuk)'s probe committee during an interrogation about irregularities at Banani's FR Tower.
Rupayan officials just showed a photocopy of Rajuk's approval of the tower—during their inquiry by the probe committee on March 31—but failed to answer the committee's other questions.
According to affiliated sources, on March 31, the probe committee called upon several top Rupayan officials to ask for information about FR Tower.
Rajuk inquired about: a Rajuk-approved design of the 23 floors, the submission of the fees required by Rajuk post-approval, bank statements for the approved plan, and other information. However, Rupayan officials failed to provide anything other than the photocopy of the original approved plan.
Requesting to remain anonymous, a Rajuk official said the government originally approved the FR tower plan for 18 floors. "However, the building owner showed us another corrected plan for 23 floors, on February 23, 2005, and insisted it was the original plan. However, it did not match the original plan in Rajuk's archives."
A later investigation in 2007 also showed discrepancies between the Rajuk-approved plan and the plan upon which Rupayan built FR Tower.
The official continued, the statements of Rupayan officials have been filed, and will be handed over to the Rajuk chairman on April 7. Rajuk will take its final decision after the probe committee hands over its report.
Rajuk Chairman, Md Abdur Rahman, said on Wednesday: "After the FR Tower fire, we created a probe committee to investigate the matter. Now they are completing the inquiry, and they will give their report to me on Sunday."
He added: "I could not verify the design plan, that Rupayan officials showed us, against the original plan. We have not found any file that approved 23 floors."
Rajuk Deputy General Manager Saiful Islam could not be reached by phone to comment on the subject.
Manager of land owner SMHI Faruk, Kamal Hossain, said: "Initially, we came to agreement with developer group Rupayan to construct 18 storeys, where we decided Faruk would own 45% and building owner would own the rest of the 55%.
"Later, Rupayan proposed that Faruk build 23 floors, but he did not sign the proposal form," he said. "He only agreed to work on constructing the rest of the floors once they had been approved by Rajuk. However, Rupayan disagreed and went on to build the other floors without Faruk's approval. Faruk sent numerous letters to Rajuk over the matter."
The city authorities and Fire Service started cracking down on buildings with no, or inadequate, fire-fighting systems after a fire at the 23-storey FR Tower in Banani killed 26 people last month, in the wake of another devastating fire that left 70 people dead at Chawkbazar on February 20.
Both incidents also left scores of others with severe injuries.