FR Tower: Plot owner held for flouting building code
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) today arrested SMHI Faruque, the land owner of FR Tower for his alleged connection to the illegal extension of Banani's high rise building that caught fire in March.
On March 27, at least 27 people were killed in the FR Tower fire.
A team led by Abu Bakar Siddique, deputy director (DD) of ACC, also the plaintiff of the case, arrested Faruque from Banani around 1:30pm, Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, public relations officer (PRO) of ACC told The Daily Star.
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ACC also arrested one of the owners of Banani FR Tower, Tasvir Ul Islam from capital’s Segunbagicha area around 4:00pm yesterday.
Earlier on March 31, Faruque 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.
The duo was later released on bail.
The latest arrests come 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 Faruque 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, Faruque 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 Faruque 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 Faruque 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.