RAJUK demolishes parts of Ha-Meem Group owner’s house in Gulshan

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, or RAJUK, has demolished parts of Ha-Meem Group head AK Azad’s Gulshan house built allegedly without any approved design having been followed.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 20 March 2018, 07:22 AM
Updated : 20 March 2018, 03:57 PM

The capital development agency started the drive at 9am Tuesday suspending traffic between the north end of Road 86 and Road 84 and between Road 87 and Road 86.

Azad’s house, including a lawn, stands on an around 0.5-acre piece of land on Road 86.

Until 1pm, when RAJUK workers went for a break, parts of the boundary wall, the porch, parts of the waiting room on the ground floor, two bedrooms on the first floor and parts of the drawing room were bulldozed.  

RAJUK Director Aliur Rahman, who led the operation, said: “The house was built without following any approved design. RAJUK did not approve the structural design that they showed.”

When asked if the whole house will be knocked down, the RAJUK director said: “It should be if we go by the rules.”

However, the RAJUK officials and workers did not resume the demolition work after the break and left the scene at 4pm.

While leaving, Aliur told reporters they were suspending the demolition as the working hours for the day ended.

“You’ll see,” he said on being asked when they planned to resume the work.

Asked why demolition work did not resume after the break, he said, “We were inside at the time.”  

RAJUK officials said the plot was allocated to one Md Yunus in 1960. Its ownership was transferred to Azad from a British organisation in 2006 until when the building housed a school on the first floor.

Asked who owns the house, RAJUK official Aliur said, “You know well who the owner is. But it doesn’t matter to us. We check whether the RAJUK approved the design or not.”

After they left, Azad’s brother-in-law Shoaibul Islam told reporters it was a ‘misunderstanding’, and the RAJUK officials left after they were shown the papers they had asked for.

Azad, a former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, was seen speaking with RAJUK officials at the scene but did not speak to the media.

When asked to disclose the details of the matter, Aliur said: “Let us finish the work first. We will brief you then.”

Some senior journalists of Bangla-language newspaper Samakal and TV station Channel 24, owned by Azad’s Times Media Limited, were also seen in front of the house during the drive.

bdnews24.com could not get Azad’s comment on the raid immediately.

Later in the evening, the Ha-Meem Group issued a statement in which Azad alleged the RAJUK team razed parts of the house without appreciating the ‘legal documents’ shown to them.

“They stopped the demolition work when I showed the RAJUK chairman the approved design, Namjari and other legal documents on the house,” he was quoted as saying.

The RAJUK workers cut the power and gas connections to the house at the beginning of the drive.

They used excavators and other tools to tear down the boundary wall and main entrance to the house afterwards.

After they razed the front wall, porch and parts of a balcony at 11:30am, they gave the residents some time to remove their belongings and furniture.

Some people were seen leaving the house with luggage while some furniture were kept on the lawn.

Shoaibul said the RAJUK did not give a notice a week before the drive. “This is a normal two-storey building. There are thousands of houses like this. They could have given us a notice a week before the drive, but they did not.”  

Asked about the issue, Aliur said, “Our authorised people came here and asked for the design.

“This has been part of the regular activities of our mobile court since 2016,” he said.

He claimed they published a notice in newspapers on the demolition. “This is an ongoing process and will continue in the future,” he said.

Shoaibul alleged the drive was aimed to harass Azad.

“You want to harass someone, and you are doing this by setting up a mobile court! I don’t know why this happened to a person like Azad sir,” he said  

“It was a misunderstanding. I think they came to know that there was no design of the house and started tearing it down. They stopped and left when we showed them the documents,” Shoaibul said.

According to him, the house was built in 1964. He said they showed the design used in constructing the house to the RAJUK officials.

When a reporter referred to the magistrate’s comment that the design was not approved by RAJUK, and that they would come again to resume the drive, Shoaibul said, “You saw that they did not do anything after the break in the afternoon.

“Let’s see whether they come again. I hope they don’t,” he said.

He also said they would decide about taking legal action against the RAJUK over the demolition of the house later.