Justice Siddiqui spent Rs12mn on renovating official residence, alleges SJC reference

  • Observers say IHC judge’s outburst against army meant to make any verdict against him controversial

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) will take up the reference against a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, on July 30 over the alleged spending of Rs12 million on the renovation of his official residence against the rules.

The reference filed on the application of the former director of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Muhammad Anwar Gopang, alleged that on the instructions of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the judge was allotted House No. 91-H in Sector F/6-3, but the judge shifted his residence thrice in search of a better abode.

Justice Siddiqui 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. Consequently, the CDA spent Rs12.1 million to renovate the house.

The Engineering Wing of the CDA had initially estimated a cost of Rs8 million for the renovation work, however, it swelled to more than Rs12 million at the end which also included construction of a special cafe for pigeons.

It is pertinent to mention here that 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, the work was actually completed by one contractor.

Another allegation against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui pertains to the misuse of authority to allot CDA Director Manzoor Hussain Shah a plot of his choice. The CDA allotted plot no. 1,014 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 Rs10 million whereas the plot which the officer got of his choice was worth Rs50 million.

The reference also alleges that another assistant director of CDA, Shahid Singha, who was said to be a close friend of Justice Siddiqui for many years, also took undue advantage of his relationship with the judge. Shahid Singha’s son was a temporary employee on a project but on the application of Singha, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui first issued a 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.

It is also alleged that Shahid Singha’s daughter-in-law was recruited as a research associate at IHC on a monthly salary of Rs80,000 on the orders of Justice Siddiqui. He later transferred her to his own office.

Many observers believe that the recent harangue of Justice Siddiqui is a direct response to imminent hearing of references against him that are pending in Supreme Judicial Council over alleged misuse of authority slated to be heard in an open court on July 30.

The outburst against the army is meant to make any verdict against him controversial in his bid to become a martyr for a greater cause.