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DHA accounts partly unfrozen
08-03-2013, 12:55 PM
Post: #1
DHA accounts partly unfrozen
The Supreme Court on Thursday conditionally relaxed its earlier order of freezing Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Rawalpindi/Islamabad accounts to the extent of paying Rs 52.8 million salaries to employees of the housing society in response to the plea made by its counsel Irfan Qadir.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed the hearing of a suo motu notice on a Rs 40 billion scam in Employees' Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) and directed Capital Development Authority (CDA) to submit the record pertaining to 1400 acres of land which the civic body bestowed to DHA without any agreement for industrial zone.

The bench also asked Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to file a final report of Nespak's evaluation of EOBI property that was purchased from various housing societies throughout the country for the purpose of investment. Unfreezing the accounts of Eden Housing Society, the bench granted time to the society to deposit an outstanding amount of Rs 900 million in the Registrar's office till the next date of hearing.

Taking notice of an article of a columnist-cum-lawyer of an English newspaper and also disseminating a programme on EOBI scam proceedings on a private television channel, the bench sought a policy and transcript of that TV programme from the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper and Chief Executive of the channel, respectively.

Additional Director General legal FIA Azim Khan submitted a preliminary Nespak's evaluation report of property that EOBI purchased for investment purposes, saying the value of the property near Islamabad ExpressWay in 2009 was Rs 14 billion which had escalated to Rs 17 billion in July 2013, adding that the Institution purchased Crown Plaza Islamabad against a payment of rupees one billion whereas its market price was Rs 626 million.

During hearing, the bench was informed that columnist-cum-lawyer was also a legal consultant for the EOBI who vet the proposal to purchase land in the DHA, saying no PPRA Rules were applicable in the transaction. The Chief Justice categorically observed: "Such columnist-cum-lawyer was also the legal consultant of the EOBI and was aware of the EOBI deal with DHA - he should appear before the court for arguments rather than extending criticism from outside the court."

M Bilal, the counsel for the EOBI, submitted that former Chairman and Director General Investment were responsible for investing employees' wealth in various housing societies, adding that the current matter was also in the knowledge of National Accountability Bureau.

Another petitioner's counsel in the current matter, Zulifiqar Maulka, told the bench that CDA gave 2412 Kanals of land to DHA after entering into a contract during 2007. According to that deal, DHA was required to hand over developed plots to the civic body. Maulka submitted that not a single plot was handed over to CDA as yet. He further told the bench that CDA blessed 1400 acres of land to DHA in the name of industrial zone without any agreement in the vicinities of Rawat, Sihala and Swan including the Shamlat land. The hearing of case was adjourned till August 21.
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