islamabad - Official work at the Estate Management-II of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has come almost to a halt since the arrest of a senior CDA official by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a high-profile bribery case.

The arrest has also stirred a wave of panic among the officials at the authority which are already hit by FIA and NAB action on account of multiple inquiries on different issues. The officer of the CDA was arrested red-handed by the NAB and other agencies on November 30, 2015 while pocketing Rs 4 million he received as bribe from the owner of a shopping mall in exchange of accepting two bank drafts amounting to around Rs 100 million on account of partial payment of premium of plot 5 in Markaz F-7 of the federal capital.

Deputy Director (Estate, Commercial) Chaudhary Iftikhar Ali Haideri was called by the owner of the mall to receive the payment of Rs 4 million after, the owner said, the CDA official was threatening him not to cash the bank drafts and cancel allotment of the plot also. The sources said that in the meantime, the mall owner approached the NAB authorities and informed them about the official’s behaviour and demand after which a joint team, led by an assistant commissioner of Islamabad, conducted a secret operation at a restaurant and held the official red-handed. The deal was finalised at Rs 8 million and the video of the meeting between CDA official and the owner of the plaza was also made, the sources added.

The prize bonds bearing signature of the female assistant commissioner were handed over to the CDA official. “The owner of the shopping mall gave a signal to the raiding team after handing over Rs 4 million to the CDA officer,” a CDA official told The Nation on condition of anonymity.

He said a few days back the mall owner had come to the office of Haideri with a request of accepting bank drafts and the latter used abusive language in presence of his employees ‘to pressurize the mall owner.’ At that time, the mall owner decided to involve the anti-corruption agencies in the issue, he added. Rs 100 million payment to the CDA is part of the outstanding premium amounting to Rs 450 million against the plot, though the owner claims that he owes around Rs 220 million to CDA as he has put his case before the CDA management to waive off the delayed charges.

The arrested official is in custody of NAB on 14-day physical remand and no other officer has yet been appointed on the seat bringing the official work to a halt. The two bank drafts submitted by the mall owner are also yet to be cashed.

Sources in the CDA said the payment was made through two bank drafts; Bank Islami Pakistan Limited F-10 Markaz branch Islamabad, amounting to Rs 92 million and four hundred eighty-five thousands and NIB Bank amounting to Rs 3 million and Rs 300,000 to CDA Islamabad on account of plot # 5, F-7 Markaz, Islamabad on November 10, 2015. The sources in the CDA said the authority is facing a loss of thousands of rupees on daily basis for not cashing the drafts, as once drafts are cashed the interest rate is applied by the bank on the amount. A one-month time has lapsed since the authority’s One Window Operation received the drafts.

The sources in the Estate Management-II told The Nation that official work at the directorate has been at halt since the arrest of the officer concerned. “The mall drafts are yet to be cashed as the NAB has taken into custody the file of the mall and other relevant record… once the new officer is appointed, the work will resume at routine,” they said.