Business of The Raintree Dhaka hotel is going on at a residential building in Banani with a High Court order staying the authorities concerned from taking action against it.
“Running hotel business at residential buildings is absolutely illegal,” said Rokon-Ud-Doula, law director of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).
They had been doing the business after obtaining a stay order from the HC, barring Rajuk from carrying out an eviction drive, he observed.
The nine-storey building has approval for seven floors above ground, meaning its top floor is illegal, said Rajuk Authorised Officer Adiluzzaman.
The building has no occupancy certificate either, a legally mandatory clearance document required prior to opening a new building for use, he added.
Earlier in mid-February, Rajuk in association with a mobile court carried out an eviction drive at Raintree, cut off gas, water and electricity connections and sealed off the hotel, he said.
As the owner filed a writ petition in late February, an HC bench on March 5 ordered Rajuk to restore all utility services and open the hotel within 48 hours without failure and not to disturb the owner further, Adiluzzaman informed The Daily Star.
The hotel authorities did not even bother to produce the court order before Rajuk asking for permission and reopened the hotel on their own, he said.
The hotel has become a talk of the town since reports have recently hit the media that two university girls were allegedly raped at gunpoint at the hotel on March 28.
Reza Golam Mostafa, general manager of Raintree's financier company Humaira Group, said, “You cannot call our hotel business in residential building illegal as we have got the court's stay order on Rajuk's eviction move.”
He added a process was on with Rajuk for conversion of the residential building into a commercial one and claimed that the government was considering converting the entire Banani residential Road-27 into a commercial zone.
According to the hotel's room rates flyer, a single room costs $250, a deluxe room $300, executive room $325 and a suite $550, all excluding 25 percent tax and service charges.
Contacted, Raintree's guest relations officer Farhana Akhter Meghla said she would talk to her authorities first and respond later.
Munira Aktar, wife of Jhalakathi lawmaker BH Harun, is the owner of the 5.5-katha residential plot, where the Raintree hotel is situated.
In 2011, the plot owner obtained a construction permit for an eight-storey residential building with two basement floors. But it was detected during routine inspection that the owner in deviation of the approved plan built an additional floor, said Adiluzzaman.
Rajuk served the owner the first notice in August last year in this regard, he said. As the owner did not respond, they served two more notices -- one in early November and another in mid-November last year, he added.
As they served the owner with what the Rajuk official termed was a fourth and final notice in January this year and were preparing for an eviction drive, the owner filed another writ petition with the HC that barred Rajuk from serving any further notice, he said.
Rokon-Ud-Doula said they had hired an advocate to vacate the court order.
However, examples are rife that Rajuk takes years or even a decade to fight such cases on the plea that they cannot bring those on the court's hearing list.