ISLAMABAD: Apart from developer BNP Group, the owners of apartments in the 37-storey twin residential towers of One Constitution Complex commonly known as Grand Hyatt Hotel heaved a sigh of relief and were thrilled after a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Faisal Arb reversed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) decision of upholding the cancellation of the 99-year lease by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), claiming violations of bylaws and repeated rescheduling of outstanding dues and sealing of the premises.
Meanwhile, an informed official told The News that the CDA is contemplating to file a review of the judgment. The main verdict is generally not overturned in such proceedings. The same bench that handed the original decision will hear the review plea.
The official said that submission of the review petition was a normal course that has to be adopted by the CDA so that the civic body is not found wanting in its legal obligations. “Nobody else but the affected party can only file such a plea,” he explained. There are a total of 240 “service” apartments in the twin towers located at the most prime site of the federal capital on the Murree Road near the Constitution Centre.
Many renowned personalities from different walks of life, including politics, judiciary, military, bureaucracy, banking, showbiz, had purchased apartments in the building.
In September 2017, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Chief Bashir Memon told the Standing Committee on Interior that the owner of the One Constitution Complex had given several apartments as gifts. “He had given the flats to some people free of cost,” the FIA chief had claimed, but declined to disclose the names of these beneficiaries, despite repeated requests from committee members.
After the cancellation of the lease by the CDA, some allottees, among others, apart from the lessee, had approached the IHC for reversal of this decision.
On March 9, 2005, the CDA had auctioned the 13.5-acre plot on the Constitution Avenue to the BNP Group for Rs4.88 billion. The CDA board, however, handed over the possession of the plot after receiving Rs800 million. The BNP had paid the CDA Rs1.02 billion, while the remaining Rs3.85 billion was recoverable in installments until 2026.
The CDA had offered the plot to BNP Group, which consisted of Bismillah Textile, Niagara Mills, Paragon City and Dubai-based Belhasa International Company. However, the lease agreement was signed with a firm named Elite Fashion, which changed its name to BNP on May 2, 2005.