FR Tower: Owner held for flouting building code
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday arrested one of the owners of Banani FR Tower, Tasvir Ul Islam, in connection with a case filed over his alleged involvement in illegally extending the building.
Tasvir is a BNP leader and also managing director of Quasem Industries Limited.
ACC’s Deputy Director and plaintiff of the case Abu Bakkar Siddiqui arrested Tasvir from the capital’s Segunbagicha area around 4:00pm, said the watchdog’s spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.
After his arrest, ACC kept Tasvir in the custody of Ramna Model Police Station.
“He will be produced to court today,” said Pranab.
Earlier on March 31, SMHI Faruque, the land owner of FR Tower, and Tasvir were both arrested and placed on seven-day remand each.
The two, along with Liakat Ali Khan alias Mukul, 57, chairman of Rupayan Group -- the builder company of FR Tower, leaders of the building management committee, and some unidentified persons were charged for the death of people due to negligence.
Tasvir was a member of the building management committee.
The two were later released on bail.
The latest arrest comes after the ACC on June 25 filed two cases accusing 23 people for their involvement in illegally extending the building which caught fire on March 27.
According to the case statement, one of the accused SMHI Faruk on June 25, 1989 took lease of the over eight katha plot at Banani Commercial area from Dhaka Improvement Trust, which was renamed to Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK).
On October 02, 1990 he applied to Rajuk for erecting a 15-storey building. The application was approved 28 days later.
On January 25, 1996, Faruk applied to Rajuk again, but this time to revise the original plan and extend the building to 18-storeys. Rajuk approved the plan illegally, reads the FIR.
Afterwards on April 27, 2003 Faruk signed a contract with managing director of Rupayan Housing Estate Ltd Liakat Khan Mukul, also an accused, for erecting the 18-storey building.
Later, both Faruk and Liakat signed another contract for extending the building to 23-storeys and completed construction. According to the FIR, however, no clearance certificate was taken from the housing authority for the latest extension.
“Not even the design [for extension] was approved,” it says.
On March 13, 2005, Liakat signed a contract with Tasvir to sell him office space on the three floors in level 19, 20 and 21.
The contract was valued at about Tk 5.65 crore. To meet the expenditure, Tasvir took out a Tk 3.6 crore mortgage from GPS Finance Company Ltd. Liakat and Tasvir, however, produced a “forged design of the building” and “misused their power” to get Rajuk’s approval for the mortgage, the FIR said.
The fire at the 23-storey building killed 25 people and injured 73 others.
The former chairman of Rajuk, along with the housing authority’s former and incumbent officials, was also made accused in the case.