The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday filed two cases against 23 people for their alleged involvement in illegally extending Banani’s FR Tower that caught fire in March.
The accused in the cases include a former chairman of Rajuk, chairman of Rupayan Housing Estate Ltd, and several government officials.
On March 27, FR Tower in the capital’s Banani caught fire that left 25 people killed and 73 others injured.
In an ACC enquiry, it was discovered that the 23-storey FR Tower had no fire alarm, narrow exit points and staircases, blocked fire exits and other issues. Besides, although the authorities had legally obtained a permission for a 15-storey building, they made the FR Tower a 23-storey building with time. As a result, the casualties peaked.
The ACC sued 20 and five people respectively in two cases filed over illegal extension of FR Tower from 16th to 18th and 19th to 23rd floors. Two of the accused were charged in both the cases.
Some of the accused in the case are SMHI Faruque, owner of the land on which FR Tower is built; Liakat Ali Khan Mukul, chairman of Rupayan Housing Estate Ltd, the housing company that extended the building illegally; Tasvirul Islam, one of the owners of FR Tower; Muhammd Shawkat Ali, member of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR); Syed Nazmul Huda, sub-divisional engineer of Public Works Department (PWD); and Shamsur Rahman, executive engineer of PWD.
According to the ACC, Faruque took the land on lease in 1989 from Dhaka Improvement Trust. He applied to Rajuk for getting permission to construct a 15-storey building on the land in 1990 and got approval in the same year.
Later in 1996, a permission was illegally approved to extend the 15-storey building and make it an 18-storey one. The building was then extended to 23rd floor without any clearance from Rajuk.
Besides, several corrupt government officials, who were then posted in Rajuk and other government offices, also helped the building owners to build and sell the illegal floors, the ACC alleged.