Plot to grab four houses in Dhaka

first_imgHouse No. 140, Motijheel police station building at Motijheel commercial area.A plot drawn up by vested quarters to occupy four state-owned houses in the capital, has been foiled.A Pakistani citizen was brought to Bangladesh so he could take over as the owner of these houses. He was speedily issued a birth certificate and passport to facilitate his taking possession of the property.Vice chairman of Beximco Group Salman F Rahman aided and abetted the Pakistani citizen Waqar Ahmed in this dubious plan.One of the houses is Sada Bahar, House No. 104, Road No. 3, Dhanmondi. The house is being now used as the training office of the National Security Intelligence (NSI). Another is house No. 140, the Motijheel police station building.Two others are houses are No. 10, Motijheel and No. 64, Dilkusha. These two houses are leased out to five persons including the owner of Bangladesh Typewriter Mahbubur Rahman and late state minister Ziaul Haque Zia. There are commercial establishments in these two buildings. The buildings are owned by the housing and public works ministry.A bench of justice Mohammed Nuruzzaman and justice SH Mohammed Nurul Huda Jaigirdar passed an order in this regard on 13 April.Speaking to Prothom Alo, assistant attorney general Sukumar Biswas said the papers, which were submitted claiming the ownership of these four houses, were forged. Through the verdict it has been established that no one can claim these houses. These are now abandoned property. These houses were under the control of the government and the government is still the owner of these four houses.In a written statement to Prothom Alo, Beximco Group vice chairman Salman F Rahman denied that fake documents were used to take over the houses illegally.The power of attorney was legally taken. The claimant of these houses Waqar Ahmeds son Gulzar Ahmed was a classmate of Salman F Rahman at Notre Dame College. Gulzar met Salman F Rahman in London recently and asked for his assistance. Salman F Rahman took up legal procedures to help with Gulzar Ahmed.Before independence, when GM Madani was the chairman of DIT (currently Rajuk), he allotted lands to Pakistani citizens in Dhaka city at the market price. Madani allotted the land of these four houses to somebody named Waqar Ahmed in 1960-63. After the independence of Bangladesh, the family of Waqar started to live permanently in Pakistan. These houses were included as abandoned properties as none was claimant of these houses in 1972. In this regard, a gazette was published on 23 September 1986.After the publication of the gazette, a certain Waziuddin was given power of attorney by a forged signature of the previous owner Waqar Ahmed. Through that power of attorney, he filed a case with a civil court in Dhaka on 13 August 1986 challenging the government gazette. He concealed information and filed four cases at the settlement court, claiming that these houses were included among the abandoned properties. He also forged the signature of Waqar in the document.The settlement court in its verdict on 14 October 1992 said these houses were not abandoned properties. Waziuddin, however, could take not over the houses.Earlier, identifying himself as son of Waqar, a certain Firoz Ahmed claimed to be owner of property in Boro Katra of Dhaka (holdings 11 and 13), filed a case and lost the case. He filed a review petition. In the petition, Firoz Ahmed claimed to be only son of Waqar Ahmed and claimed his father has gone to Europe for treatment. But the actual Firoz Ahmed and his father Waqar Ahmed were still in Pakistan. Waziuddin made these forged records.Dhanmondi police arrested Waziuddin as the leader of a land forgery gang on 12 July 2007. He confessed to police that he occupied land through fake documents. After remaining in jail for a couple of days, he died in 2010. Waziuddins family now lives in a house on Road No 7 in Dhanmondi. His son Ekabbor Hossain is an Awami League member of parliament from Tangail-7. He said he knows nothing about the land and has no interest in it.A new chapterAlthough these houses were under the occupation of the government, the verdict of the settlement court was in favour of Waziuddin. As a result, the houses were dropped from the abandoned property list. Then certain influential quarters grabbed this opportunity. They brought Waqar Ahmed to Bangladesh from Pakistan.According to the verdict, Beximco Group vice chairman Salman F Rahman used the letterhead of the group to write to the home ministry on 8 March 2015, asking them to issue a visa to Waqar Ahmed. The home ministry accordingly sent a recommendation to Bangladesh High Commission in Karachi to issue a visa to Waqar. Waqar came to Bangladesh on flight PK-266 on a five-day visit on 13 April. On that very day, he received a birth certificate as a citizen of Bangladesh from Zone 1 of Dhaka South City Corporation. But he submitted the photocopy of his national identity card as a permanent resident of Pakistan when taking the visa for Bangladesh.The verdict also said Waqar applied for a machine readable passport (MRP) passport on 15 April within two days after arriving in Bangladesh. He himself, however, did not go to the passport office. Citing illness, he applied and his fingerprint was taken from a residence. The passport was issued in his favour on that very day.Director general of the immigration and passport directorate Major General Masud Rezwan said a written passport was issued in favour of Waqar Ahmed in 2007. The MRP was issued based on that passport.Asked how Waqar was given a Bangladeshi passport being a citizen of Pakistan, the DG said an investigation is underway in this regard. Waqar Ahmed did not come to Bangladesh after independence. The directorate of immigration and passport could not explain how the passport was issued in favour of Waqar Ahmed in 2007. The directorate is also investigating this.The permanent address Waqar Ahmed mentioned in his passport belongs to Rabeya Khatun, wife Abu Yunus. A security guard of the residence in the capitals Azimpur said no one named Waqar lived in the house.The phone number Waqar used in filing his passport papers is now used by Beximco Group senior manager Tasnin Hossain.When Tasnin was contacted over phone, he said, Waqar is the friend of my boss. I cant tell you more than that.The emergency address Waqar stated in his passport is a flat in a multi-storey building in Eskaton. The residents of the building said on Tuesday that the flat belongs to Beximco Group. But, papers say the flats owner is Jupiter Business Limited. The owner of the Jupiter is Mushfiqur Rahman. The flat, however, has been kept locked for one and a half years.The verdict of the court says Waqar Ahmed applied for the power of attorney with the sub-registrar office, immediately after receiving the passport. He also met the secretary of the housing and public works.The sub-registrar sent the power of attorney appeal to the inspector general of registration, saying such appeals are not issued as per rules. Waqar went back to Karachi on 17 April.Waqar, according to the verdict, appointed Ivy Real Estate Limited managing director Mushfiqur Rahman. From court documents, the address of the Ivy Real Estate is in Road 1, Dhanmondi. This is the address of Bell Tower, an office of Beximco.An investigation officer of the case said Mushfiqur was an employee of Beximco Group but he left his job two years ago.The government filed a writ petition on 4 May 2015 after Waqars power of attorney appeal.According to the writ petition, the verdict the settlement court passed was based on fake documents. Because, Waqar Ahmed submitted his passport to the housing and public works ministry on 18 June 2015 but he was invited to Bangladesh on 8 March.He came to Bangladesh using a Pakistani passport. While taking a Bangladeshi visa, he gave information that he has been living in Pakistan since 1952.The verdict also says the settlement court passed the verdict going beyond its jurisdiction. And so, the buildings will be considered as abandoned.Asked whether there would be any criminal case for occupying the governments property, attorney generalMahbubey Alam told Prothom Alo, This isnt my work. But this is true that those who claimed the property have lost (the case).In a written statement, Salman F Rahman told Prothom Alo, Nowhere in the High Court verdict was it mentioned that Waqar Ahmeds documents were fake. The attorney general tried to prove Waqar a Pakistani citizen. But even the AG nowhere in his statement said those documents fake.Salman F Rahman, ruling Awami League president Sheikh Hasinas adviser, did not comment on Waqars activities like quick issuance of Bangladeshi passport, managing Bangladeshi birth certificate and using of Beximcos address.The four building are still in the possession of the government. According to the court verdict, the houses have been abandoned property since independence of Bangladesh.Executive director of the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Iftekharuzzaman told Prothom Alo that many influential people try to become owners of property using fraudulent ways.Sometimes they are successful in their attempts. However, these four houses will remain an example that if concerned persons are conscious, they can protect government property, he added.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Imam Hossainlast_img

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