ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday permitted Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to withdraw Rs 420 million from its frozen bank accounts for the payment of salaries to its employees.
The court directed the DHA management to submit bank guarantee if it wanted the restoration of its Rs 6 billion frozen bank accounts.
Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry last year taking notice of more than Rs40 billion corruption scam of the Employees Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI) had frozen the bank accounts of DHA.
During the proceeding, the DHA informed the court that it was not ready to take back the land from EOBI by paying money. However, the EOBI chairman told that the Board of Trustee of the EOBI had decided it would return the land to the DHA after receiving the amount with interest from the DHA.
Justice Saqib Nisar heading a three-member bench that heard the case of EOBI scam asked the counsels of the parties to consult their clients that the court would facilitate those who wanted to take the plots on making payment; otherwise it would order for registration of the case and holding of trial.
On the query of the bench, the DHA counsel Irfan Qadir informed the court that they were not ready to take back land, as it would damage its repute in the market.
Chairman EOBI informed the court that the Board of Trustee of the EOBI had decided to return the plots after getting the payment, which included the expenses and 9.5 per cent interest on the original amount.
Justice Saqib remarked when the land was purchased at that time its price was low, but now it had increased therefore if the parties purchase the land at the then price then it would not be justice. He said if the parties resolve the matter themselves then the court would not have any objection.
The judge said if the parties failed to resolve the issue then the court could ask for constitution of a judicial commission to investigate the corruption in the EOBI scandal. The judge said that they wanted to dispose of this case.
Irfan Qadir informed that they had sold Rs22 billion land to the EOBI, but now they were not ready to accept the decision of the board, which wanted money. He prayed that DHA Rs6.2 billion bank accounts be restored.
The court inquired from Deputy Attorney General Sajjid Illyas Bhatti, who represented federation, whether any case has been registered against the officials of the DHA. He said that no FIR has been lodged yet but the investigation has been going on for the last one year.
Upon that the court showing annoyance remarked whether the investigation would continue for 50 years. He said if the cases were not registered then what was the justification to freeze the bank accounts. Justice Saqib asked Irfan Qadir to give the bank guarantee then the court would order to restore the DHA accounts.