Grand Hyatt Tower: CJP slams CDA for allowing construction of residential apartments
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for allowing construction of residential buildings on the land allotted for a luxurious hotel at the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, ARY News reported.
BNP Pvt Ltd was allotted a plot for a hotel in 2004; however, it built Grand Hyatt Tower residential apartments, which were sold to different buyers, which included high-profile figures.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar heard the case.
In July 2016, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had upheld the cancellation of the lease of the plot granted by the CDA meant for Grand Hyatt Hotel over violations of building laws.
The apex court, however, reversed the IHC’s order about Grand Hyatt lease case, directing the builder to pay Rs 17.5 bn to CDA in eight years on equal annual instalments.
By declaring the IHC verdict null and void, the court ordered the company to submit a bank guarantee of every instalment.
The chairman CDA apprised the top court that the federal cabinet would review the matter comprehensively.
The CJP roasted the CDA for not objecting to the apartments’ construction when it was underway. He asked the development authority chairman to suggest him for resolution of the issue of the apartments.
The chairman said the site should be auctioned again.
“The real difficulty will be faced by the residents of the blocks. For how much this place was auctioned in 2005?,” the CJP inquired.
CJP Nisar said the court was not dependent on the CDA and if the cabinet did not decide the fate of the project, then the court would announce a verdict on merit.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the CDA did not send any recommendation to the cabinet, neither the authority had any plan in this regard.
Upon this, CDA counsel Muneer Paracha said the cabinet was due to decide about the issue, and it was on its agenda for Thursday.
The CDA objected to Justice Ijaz’s sitting in the bench, but Paracha expressed full confidence in his presence.
“Ijazul Ahsan has been a lawyer for BNP,” the counsel said.
“This does not matter as he has no more any relation with the case,” the CJP said.
BNP lawyer Ali Zafar said the construction of Grand Hyatt would be completed by 2028.
CJP Nisar said the development authority exceeded its power by cancelling the lease for the project on the direction of a minister.
“For 13 years you remained aloof and out of a sudden you recalled this matter,” he wondered.
The CDA lawyer said Grand Hyatt Tower fell in [Margalla] national park’s land.
“So does the Supreme Court and the secretariat, will you demolish them too?”, CJP said.
The top judge said the CDA would commit mistakes and then ask to raze the buildings.
“Who would protect the buyers? What’s their fault who paid millions of rupees?” he asked.