ISLAMABAD  -  A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday turned down all 25 intra-court appeals against lease cancellation by Capital Development Authority (CDA) in the Grand Hyatt Hotel scam.

The dual bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted the hearing and upheld the previous ruling of IHC single bench which had cancelled the lease. The civic agency in July 2016 had cancelled the lease to the BNP and the latter filed a petition in the IHC. Then, Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC in March last year upheld the CDA decision against which the BNP filed an intra-court appeal.

In the judgment, Justice Minallah had observed: “It is a reflection of how the (CDA) officials have been bending over backwards by extending undue benefits to the petitioner/company in complete disregard of the mandatory regulations, thus causing loss to the exchequer on the one hand and enabling the petitioner/company to defraud and deceive members of the general public on the other.”

The verdict said the case had brought to surface the most conspicuous example of undermining the rule of law by one of the most important regulatory authorities established under the 1960 ordinance.

Some 240 buyers of residential apartments in the project had become affected by the CDA decision. The civic agency estimated that the builders sold the apartments for around Rs6 billion to the buyers.

The affected buyers included Prime Minister Imran Khan, then Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mohammad Ashraf Wathra, then PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam, former Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk, ex-chief justice Lahore High Court Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, then federal minister Jam Kamal Khan, former naval chief Mohammad Asif Sandila, former foreign secretary Salman Bashir and retired Lt Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat.

Some 25 appeals were filed in the IHC against the order of Justice Minallah.

A CDA board on July 29, 2016 had cancelled the 99-year lease of land to the BNP that was leased out on March 9, 2005. The CDA board while cancelling the lease had said, “The construction of main component hotel tower has not yet commenced, approval of plan expired in 2013, revised plans were not submitted as per approved format of authority, serviced apartments were sold out to general public. 

BNP then assailed the lease cancellation before the IHC but an IHC single bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah on March 3, 2017 endorsed CDA decision while saying that the construction of the residential apartments on the said plot and the purported sale thereof is illegal, void and in flagrant abuse and violation of the Ordinance of 1960 read with the Zoning Regulations, Building Regulations and the Building Control Regulations.