Islamabad - Owners having leasehold rights of serviced apartments of a high-rise have served legal notice on the Capital Development Authority (CDA) over, what they called, illegal cancellation of lease deed of the project.

In a notice to the chairman CDA sent through Advocate Saad M Hashmi, two owners of apartments of One Constitution Avenue have argued that unilateral cancellation of the lease deed by the CDA Board had effectively cancelled the lawful allotment and possession of their apartments in the building.           “The CDA does not have the authority to unilaterally cancel the lease, especially when the third party rights, such as that of my clients, have been created in accordance with the terms of the lease deed executed by CDA in favour of BNP,” the notice reads.

They said they had purchased the apartments after due diligence and inspection of the relevant documents and confirming from different departments within the CDA that everything was in order. They have claimed to have carried out an inquiry with the CDA officials again, which reveals that no illegality has been committed by the contractor.

The notice said that amendments in lease deed executed between the CDA and the contractor had been made with the approval of CDA Board in accordance with the directions of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet and such amendments have been made by the CDA in various projects in Islamabad during the same period. They owners said that the project and owners of the apartments are being discriminated against.

They further said the total land offered for sale in case of this project was 13.45 acres and there was no change in the size or dimension of the plot after the bidding. Whereas in case of Centaurus project, the actual land offered for sale was 6.62 acres.

After the bidding process completed and sale agreement had been executed, not only the layout of the plot had been changed, but additional adjacent land of 0.63 acres was sold to Centaurus at the rate of Rs 200,000 per square yard without any fresh advertisement or auction. This is totally against the PPRA rules.

The notice points out that the height of One Constitution Avenue project was reduced from already approved 47 storeys to 23 storeys due to height restrictions imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Whereas in case of Centaurus project, 20 storeys were allowed in the offer to bid; and after the bidding process had been completed, CDA permitted Centaurus to build 42 storeys. The CAA raised concerns over the revised height, which was post-bid change, and Centaurus withheld the payments to CDA. The dispute was finally settled by rescheduling of balance payments.

“In view of the above, you are advised to either restore the lease of One Constitution Avenue or also cancel the sale agreement of the Centaurus Project. In case the CDA fails to do so, my clients shall approach the FIA, NAB and the PAC with the evidence available in their record, which clearly shows that the One Constitution Avenue project and the bona fide owners of serviced apartments are being treated unlawfully and illegally, and also are subject to discriminatory treatment in contravention of Article 25 of the Constitution,” it reads.