Contempt case against CDA officers: LHC puts four questions to Sakhi Butt

ISLAMABAD, Sept 17: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court told city businessman Faisal Sakhi Butt on Monday that contempt proceedings against him would depend on his answers to four questions.

Unaided by his counsel, Mr Butt had answered the first question that he never attended any Capital Development Authority Board meeting, when friends advised him to seek permission to answer the rest at the next hearing, which the court set for September 26.

Before Mr Butt’s case came up for hearing, his counsel Dr Abdul Basit also had requested for deferring the hearing as he had to plead in the Supreme Court and was told the request would be considered when Mr Butt’s case came up on its turn.

Five CDA officials are also facing contempt proceedings for defying a ban put by the court in May on CDA official meeting Mr Butt while his controversial role as chairman of prime minister’s Task Force on CDA was being examined by the court. It ended in Mr Butt losing the position but the contempt proceedings have been continuing.

On Monday, the court put four questions to Mr Butt to determine whether to proceed further with the contempt charge against him or drop it. He was asked (1) how many times he had participated in CDA Board meetings; (2) how many projects he initiated; (3) how many projects he inaugurated; and (4) which CDA officers he met after the court passed its restraining orders?

The orders were passed on May 14, restraining CDA officers from meeting Mr Butt and barring his entry into the CDA premises.

Five officers, directors general Ghulam Sarwar Sandhu, Syed Imran Shah, directors Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Riaz Ahmed Randhawa, and Haseen Raza Zaidi, who were later charged with defying the order, submitted their affidavits in the court in the contempt case.A fifth officer, Anwar Gopang, director road and maintenance, informed the court through his lawyer Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali that he had reported, on the previous hearing on September 10, “no interference” by Mr Butt in his official affairs because CDA’s law directorate advised him to appear in person before the court, and returned him the details of the projects that he had provided to the directorate to prepare his response to the court orders.

That was the reason Mr Gopang changed his ‘no interference’  statement to admit that Mr Butt did interfere in at least two projects -  additional parking for Aabpara market and flood safety wall in sector G-7, the lawyer pleaded.

The court deferred this matter till September 26 as well.

Meanwhile, the same court also restored the suspended project director of Kurri housing scheme and issued notice to the managing director of Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) for violating the court order regarding the award of a Rs431 million contract.While hearing the petition of a PHA employee, the court had on July 24 suspended the proceedings on awarding the contract to allegedly favoured companies.

Raja Aamir Abbas, counsel for the project director Kurri housing scheme told the court that his client, Ali Akbar Shah, opposed the award and had pressed for maintaining transparency in the matter.

He submitted that the former MD PHA, Rasool Bukhsh Phulpoto, instead of observing merit and listening to PD Shah, suspended him and appointed Farooq Azam, a grade 17 official the new project director of the housing scheme.

According to him, the housing scheme was meant for the federal government officers of grade 20 and above on their retirement.

PHA through tender notices had invited the construction companies to take part in the bidding for separate categories of housing.

The tenders were opened on March 16, 2012.

The outgoing Managing Director of PHA, Rasool Bakhash Phulpoto on July 25, issued an acceptance letter to National Construction Limited (NCL) in response to their lowest bid, he added.

He pointed out that the court on July 27 issued a stay order on this matter but the authorities concerned instead of complying with the orders interpreted it differently and continued the process of awarding the contract to the favourite construction companies.