ISLAMABAD -The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Saud Ahmed Mirza to complete inquiry into the alleged corruption of Rs40 billion in the Employees Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI) within 10 days and submit its report.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which was hearing a suo moto regarding the alleged misappropriation of public money, encouraged the DG not to get influenced by the rank and stature of any accused involved in the case. The court directed the interior secretary to let the DG pick officers of his choice from police or other department to probe into the matter.

It also asked the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and the Human Resource Development to support the FIA probe.

The DG informed the court that a case had already been registered and three persons — Wahid Khursheed, former EOBI investment director, and two former EOBI officials, Maham Majeed and Colonel (r) Ali Hassan Mirza – was arrested. He said that two persons Muhammad Qasim Pervaiz and Iqbal Daud had obtained transitory bails from SHC and IHC.

He told the court that former EOBI chairman Zaffar Iqbal Gondal got money from the same account that received the transaction from the institute accounts for the purchase of properties.

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and HRD Secretary Abdul Khaliq told the court that request had been forwarded to the Interior Ministry to place the name of Gondal and other accused on the ECL. He said that Gondal went back to his parent department — Auditor General of Pakistan.

Confirming the allegations raised by the media, he said there had been 18 dubious transactions made to purchase properties on exorbitant prices.

A reporter of a private TV channel informed the court that he had all the data of the allegations he had levelled against the EOBI chairman and other staff and would provide the documents on Tuesday.

The bench directed the FIA DG to give him protection as the journalist had been receiving threats for exposing the scam.

Colonel (r) Tariq Kamal, former Town Planning director at the DHA said that some 400 kanals near Rawalpindi was handed over to Bharia Town without any financial consideration and the land was later purchased by EOBI for investment purposes. Abdul Khaliq said 321 kanals were purchased directly from the Rawalpindi DHA.

He said: “As soon as I came to know about other matters including a contract of building construction in Faisalabad that was to cost Rs220 million to EOBI, I stopped all projects, transactions and ordered an audit. The audit report will be finalised on July 6.”

The chief justice observed that under Article 9 of the Constitution, the money belonged to the taxpayers and to those who were beneficiaries of the EOBI fund.

The CJ took suo moto notice over a note sent by the court registrar, citing a TV program. According to the note, the EOBI had caused a loss of Rs40 billion to the exchequer by investing in private sector projects without approval of its Board of Trustees.