islamabad - The Federal Investigation Agency has started a probe into what had prompted the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to withdraw an intra-court appeal against the decision of Islamabad High Court (IHC) for regularising the services of daily wagers.

The 32 officers were engaged by the authority in 2012 on daily wage basis but were not regularised despite IHC directions in this regard. The CDA employees, after authority’s refusal to regularise them, approached IHC saying that they were regularised by the cabinet committee in the light of recommendations of the committee headed by Syed Khurshid Shah and that the CDA was reluctant to regularise their services. The IHC ordered for regularisation of these officers and stopped the civic agency from taking any action against them. The CDA filed an intra-court appeal against the decision of IHC but due to certain alleged political pressure, the Law Directorate of the civic agency withdrew it. Later, the case was put before CDA Board which decided to constitute a committee to examine their cases and submit report to the board accordingly. However, nobody was willing to divulge what had forced the authority to withdraw the intra-court appeal. The officers were engaged during the tenure of Farkhand Iqbal as CDA chairman.

A committee was constituted vide notification dated June 10, 2008 by the Prime Minister Secretariat which was designated the task of working out modalities for regularisation of contract employees in BPS-1 to BPS-15 and also review the contracts of persons appointed to higher positions. Later on, the office memorandum issued on August 29, 2008 mentioning the respective criteria for regularisation was issued in continuation of the previous notification. However, the committee assumed the role of approving the regularisation of 66,555 contractual employees rather than forwarding their cases to the cabinet. The committee was supposed to review the cases of all employees working in BPS-1 to BPS-15 only but it also discussed the cases of employees working equivalent to BPS-17 and BPS-18 as well. The criteria for regularisation were modified many times during the period of regularisation without seeking approval of the competent authority. Syed Khurshid Shah, the chairman of the committee, signed minutes of only eight meetings and the rest were signed by the PS to Minister for Religious Affairs or joint secretary or deputy secretary (admin) without any formal approval of the committee chairman. Certain instances also came forward that minutes of the meetings also contained names of the employees for regularisation whose cases were never forwarded or discussed in the meetings, said the documents.

According to the civic agency officials, in case of CDA employees, cases of the officers (BPS-16 and BPS-17) engaged on daily wage basis in 2012 were also recommended for regularisation by the committee despite the fact it has the mandate to take up the cases of employees of BPS-1 to BPS-15 and that proper procedure was not followed at the time of their engagement.

Later, CDA regularised 18 out of 32 officers working on daily wage basis in BPS-16 and BPS-17. Interestingly, the CDA had earlier viewed these appointments of 2012 as illegal. Eighteen out of 32 daily wage staffers in BPS-16 and BPS-17 were regularised by the CDA Board by granting one-time relaxation in upper age limit on humanitarian grounds while the cases of daily wage staff whose issuance of office order is dubious have been pended. The decision was taken in a CDA Board meeting after ‘considering the efforts put in by the subject employees working in the authority for many years.’ Before regularisation, the board decided to grant one-time relaxation in the upper age limit on humanitarian grounds subject to fulfilment of qualification criteria. The board approved regularisation of 18 daily-wage staffers in BPS-16 and BPS-17 subject to clearance from the internal inquiry, which is still underway at the authority.