ISLAMABAD - In view of the hardship of the Defence Housing Authority’s employees, the Supreme Court Thursday allowed the DHA to withdraw Rs52 million from its frozen bank accounts for the payment of salary and pension to its workers.

Headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a three-member bench in its order said: “We relax the condition so that the DHA management withdraw the amount for the payment of salary and pension to its employees.”

Upon the objections raised by Zulfiqar Maluka and FIA, the court directed Irfan Qadir – the counsel for DHA Islamabad and Rawalpindi – to furnish the statement of balance of amount and also place before it all the documents about the deal. The counsel undertook to unveil all the facts about the case.

Zulfiqar Maluka informed the court that the land that DHA sold to the EOBI (Employees Old Age Benefit Institute) belongs to the CDA (Capital Development Authority). He said the CDA had signed with DHA two agreements – one in September 2007 and the other in July 2008 – under which the DHA had to hand over the developed plots along with their possession in exchange of 2412 kanals. It was in the agreement that if the DHA would not meet the conditions in three months, the agreement would stand cancelled; but the CDA has not gotten anything so far.

Maluka said until July 3, 2013 when the apex court took up the matter, the CDA had only written letter to DHA, as a formality. He said that in actual the CDA gave 11,480 kanal land to DHA, which did not include the ‘shamlat’ (community land). The court ordered the CDA to produce all the documents regarding the properties it provided to DHA.

Earlier, Muhammad Bilal advocate, along with the EOBI chairman, argued the case. The court pointed out to Bilal that in 2009 the Public Accounts Committee of National Assembly had expressed reservation on the investment of funds by EOBI. The court was informed that in the minutes of 86th EOBI Board of Trustee meeting, it was informed that subject to the verification the government had varied the approval of 18 properties. The chief justice inquired from the counsel whether the institute got the documents of properties dully vetted by legal experts before entering into transaction.

Mr Bilal informed that Babar Sattar was legal expert of EOBI in Islamabad. He gave the opinion that the transaction was against the Pepra rules but EOBI may obtain opinion from other experts about the issue.

The court noted that Babar Sattar advocate wrote an article in an English daily, in which he had discussed the merit of the case at considerable length and a programme based on the article was also aired by a private TV channel. Babar in his article had criticised the court for taking suo moto on EOBI issue.

The bench noted that Babar Sattar was on regular roll on EOBI until June 2013. The chief justice said that instead of writing article in the newspaper, he should have come to the court.

The court also directed the chief executive officer of the channel to produce CD/DVD of the said programme along with complete transcript before next of hearing.

FIA Additional DG Azam Khan filed an interim report prepared by Nespak regarding old and present value of the properties EOBI purchased from DHA. The court asked him to submit the final report on the next date of hearing. Tariq Mehmood, representing Eden Housing Society, informed that he had deposited Rs976 million and the remaining Rs900 million would be submitted until 18th of this month. The case was adjourned until August 21.