Wednesday June 19, 2024

Park Enclave scandal: CDA finally admits its guilt in IHC

By Ahmad Noorani
January 31, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A fortnight after rebutting The News story on Park Enclave scandal and warning of a legal action, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Wednesday tendered an unconditional apology to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for misquoting an IHC judgement on the project.

Admitting that no stay order issued by the IHC had barred it from completing the Park Enclave project, the Authority assured the court that the present management was serious about completing the project. After announcing the scheme in 2011, selling plots to hundreds of citizens at very high commercial rates without land possession and failing to deliver plots to dozens of victims, the CDA had told the Federal Ombudsman last year that it was unable to deliver plots in phase-I [of Park Enclave] because of a stay order issued by the IHC.

Many victims had moved the Federal Ombudsman after being wronged for eight long years. A research by The News proved that the said stay order was issued in a totally different case having no link with the allotment of plots in the Park Enclave.

The CDA bosses simply tried to mislead the Federal Ombudsman and befool the victims by intentionally shifting the blame to the IHC. On Wednesday, during the hearing a petition, an official of CDA appeared before a two-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, and apologized for misrepresenting facts.

The CDA official admitted that the stay order issued by the IHC in Mst Hameeda Bano and Falak Naz etc. Vs CDA case had nothing to do with the allotment of plots in the Park Enclave Phase-I.

Appearing on behalf of the CDA, the counsel assured the court that a timeline was being defined by the CDA management under which development work will be completed in phase-I and plots handed over to the victims.

The bench however remarked that corruption in the CDA had reached to such an extent that it should be abolished now. The bench sought a list of officers who had launched the scheme and sold out plots without having the land in possession. The court said money should be recovered from the officers who had deceived the public. It further observed that the victims of phase-I could file damages suits against the CDA for failing to deliver as per commitment.

During the hearing, even the victims of Kuri and Rahara told the court through their counsel that the CDA had wrongly linked their case with the Park Enclave. The counsel supported the plea of Park Enclave allottees who had approached the IHC against the CDA’s misrepresentation of facts about the IHC’s stay order concerning allotments in Kuri Model village.

After its failure to deliver plots to the victims of Park Enclave in eight years, when the Federal Ombudsman asked the CDA to take action against those officials who were involved in selling plots to citizens without having the possession of land, the CDA in a tricky move wrote to the Ombudsman that delay in allotment of plots to the victims was because of a stay order granted by the Islamabad High Court in Mst. Hameeda Bano and Falak Naz etc. Vs CDA case.

However, documentary evidence proved that the CDA had lied to the Federal Ombudsman.

A perusal of the said order of the IHC belies CDA’s allegations against the high court. The said IHC order granted a stay order against any allotments in a village named Kurri Model Village which is situated much away from the location of Park Enclave where the CDA has to allot plots to the victims.

The IHC stay order has nothing to do with the allotments of plots in Park Enclave where the CDA has to reclaim the land from the encroachers. In its reaction to The News story, the CDA has maintained, “CDA neither blamed nor accursed the Honourable Court in the referred letter. The impression given in the news item is itself contemptuous and defamatory. The Honourable Court will be apprised of the correct factual position when the case is fixed for hearing.

The management of the newspaper is required to immediately publish this clarification along with an apology for filing a baseless and incorrect news item. CDA will be well within its right to exercise all possible remedies available under the law against the reporter and the management of the newspaper.”

However, while in the courtroom on Wednesday, the CDA official apologised to the court on the issue. Launched by the CDA with the attractive slogan “The Jewel of Islamabad” during the last PPP government in 2011 and then extended in 2014 and 2015 during the PML-N regime, the Park Enclave has been used by government to pocket billions of rupees, but failed to keep its promise of giving possession of plots within the stipulated time period.

Phase-I of the project launched in 2011 was to be developed and delivered to those who had purchased plots at very high commercial rates, in January 2013. In 2011, one kanal plot was sold for Rs12 million while in the second phase, four years later, the price of the same size plot was Rs22 million. After a lapse of eight years, more than 60 owners of plots in Park Enclave-I have been waiting for the possession.