A former director of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Muhammad Anwar Gopang, has filed a reference against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
The reference charges the judge for pressurising the CDA to construct a special cage for his pigeons on the rooftop of his official residence. The amount spent to construct the cage was, however, not shown in the final bills.
The reference accused the Judge of shifting his residence thrice in search for a ‘better’ abode. He then compelled the CDA to renovate his existing residence despite the fact that the house was the property of the Public Works Department (PWD) and PWD was responsible for its renovation. It has been revealed in the reference that the CDA spent Rs 12.1 million to renovate the house.
Mr Gopang claimed in the reference that on the instructions of PM Sharif, the judge was allotted House No 91-H in Sector F/6-3 of Islamabad. After sometime, the judge used his connections to find a better place to live, and got allotted House No 1-A, in Sector F/7-3. However, the honorable judge was not satisfied even with that house.
The reference said his private secretary wrote a letter to the department concerned demanding change of residence for the third time. Eventually, he got House No 2-A in Sector F/7-4, which was on the pool of the PWD.
The house needed repair and renovation. On the insistence of Justice Siddiqui, the renovation work was carried out by the CDA, which cost the national exchequer more than Rs 12 million. The complainant also submitted documentary evidences in support of his application in the JSC.
It was learnt that existing residence of Justice Siddiqui was once used by Tariq Aziz, former principal secretary to President Pervez Musharraf.
Before the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, the house was property of the people who hailed from the East Pakistan. After the Dhaka Fall, the government of Pakistan took over the property and handed over it to the PWD. The reference said the Engineering Wing of the CDA had initially estimated a cost of Rs 8 million for the renovation work. However, it swelled to more than Rs 12 million in the end. Apparently, although not stated in the Reference, the proceeds were shared between the Judge and the CDA officials.
The documentary evidence showed that to conceal the total cost of renovation, the officers of CDA revised the tenders thrice. Although the job was awarded to three different firms but actually the work was completed by one contractor.
According to the documents, Rs 372,000 were spent on the paint work of the house. Similarly, electrical job was completed with the cost of 1.7 million. The revamping of eight bathrooms cost Rs 0.9 million whereas the decoration of kitchen took Rs 163,000. Two main gates of the house were changed with the cost of Rs 126,000. In addition to this, the old windows of the house were replaced with aluminum windows and Rs 770,000 were spent on this count. Likewise, a sum of Rs 275,000 was spent on the driveway of the house. In the parking porch, cement tiles were fixed with a sum of Rs 190,000.
The store room of the house was merged into kitchen on which Rs 250,000 were spent. Some Rs 555,000 were utilized on the tiles that were fixed on the roof of the house. The six doors of the house were covered with metal net on which Rs 226,000 were spent.
The height of walls of the house was increased and security wire was installed on it with a total cost of Rs 437,000. False ceiling and fixing of marble in drawing room was completed with the total cost of Rs 111,000.
The CDA also constructed the cage for Justice Siddiqui’s pigeons on the rooftop, but that amount was not shown in the bills.
Another charge was leveled in the reference that Justice Siddiqui had very close terms with CDA Director Manzoor Hussain Shah and had ordered the CDA to allot a plot to him. The CDA allotted Plot No 1014 in Sector 1-8/4 to Shah, but he refused to accept it and demanded either Plot No 395 or 396 in Sector I/8-2 be allotted to him. He resubmitted the application in the court and Justice Siddiqui issued the order to allot Plot No 396 to the CDA director. The estimated market value of the first plot was Rs 10 million whereas the plot which the officer got on his choice was worth Rs 50 million.
Another assistant director of CDA, Shahid Singha, who was said to be a close friend of Justice Siddqui for many years, also took undue advantage of his relations.
The son of Shahid Singha was a temporary employee on a project. On the application of Singha, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui first issued stay order and then issued the orders to confirm the services of Singha’s son Nabeel Singha in (BPS-16) despite objections raised by the CDA.
In the same way, Shahid Singha’s daughter-in-law was recruited as research associate in Islamabad High Court on a monthly salary of Rs 80,000 on the orders of Justice Siddiqui. He later transferred her to his own office.
According to the reference, Shahid Singha fell ill and admitted to a private hospital. On the orders of Justice Siddiqui, the CDA had to pay for his medical treatment that cost the authority Rs 377,986.
Moreover on the intervention of Justice Siddiqui, the CDA allotted him a house from its pool and gave a Suzuki Cultus car to him. Earlier, Justice Siddiqui had given the verdict that any government servant who owned his/her house could not be entitled to official residence but on the other hand he blew his orders in the air himself.
The judge gave orders to the CDA for eliminating encroachments from inside the official residences provided to government servants, but he got constructed seven new rooms in the house that was allotted to him as IHC judge.
The applicant requested the SJC to take stern action against Justice Siddiqui.
CDA Member Engineering Shahid Sohail said if PWD does not object, CDA could carry out renovation of the house. He said the CDA had taken a no-objection certificate from the PWD before starting the renovation work.
It is pertinent to mention that the CDA deducts a handsome amount from the salary of the employees in the name of renovation and repair and also collects tax of billions of rupees from the citizens, but does not provide even a water tap or electricity bulb to either its tax payers or to the low paid staffers.
The Judge Siddiqui is said to have asked the CDA official for an apology simply for looking at him after filing of the Reference but Sindhu has refused to forgive him.