Kerala

Builder & 2 former Maradu Panchayat officials arrested

Kochi: Three people, including a builder of the Holy Faith apartment complex at Maradu, which was ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court for violating Coastal Regulation Zone norms, were arrested on Tuesday.

This is the first arrest in the case.

Two former Maradu panchayat officials were also arrested in connection with the alleged irregularities in construction of the four Maradu apartment complexes, ordered to be razed by the apex court for violating CRZ norms.

The Crime branch, which is probing the case, yesterday morning took into custody three people — Sanny Francis, Managing Director of Holy Faith Builders and Developers Ltd; Mohammed Ashraf, former Maradu panchayat secretary and P Joseph, Junior Superintendent and later recorded their arrest after questioning.

The arrests were made on the basis of strong evidence against them, a senior police official said.

Cases have been registered against them under the Prevention of Corruption act, Conspiracy and cheating.

“We have arrested three people after interrogating them.

More arrests will take place in the coming days. Investigation is going on.

Government has given us all freedom to probe the case independently,” Additional DGP Tomin J Thachankary told PTI.

The accused will be produced before the Muvattupuzha vigilance court on Wednesday.

The government had handed over the case to the crime branch from local police, which had earlier registered an FIR against three builders.

The Supreme Court had on September 27 directed demolition of the flats, built on the coastal zone of Kochi’s Maradu panchayat, within 138 days in accordance with the time schedule provided by the Kerala government.

It had also ordered the government to pay Rs 25 lakh as interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

The top court had also directed freezing of assets of builders and promoters involved in the construction of the illegal buildings.

Earlier this month, the Crime Branch had carried out a search and seizure operation in Maradu municipality and seized hundreds of documents related to the apartments concerned.

The investigating team had later conducted a similar operation at the offices of Holy Faith Builders and Developers, builders of H2O Holy Faith Apartments, and Alfa Ventures and Jain Housing and Construction Ltd, builders of Alfa Serene and Jain Coral Cove apartments.

PTI

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