A week after the special investigation team of the crime branch arrested three people in the Maradu apartment buildings case, one of the four apartment builders, who has been absconding, surrendered at Muvattupuzha Vigilance court.
On May 8, the Supreme Court had found that the four apartment complexes — Alfa Serene, Golden Kayaloram, H2O Holy Faith and Jains Coral Cove — were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms and ordered their demolition.
Paul Raj, the managing director of Alfa Ventures Private Limited, which constructed the twin towers at Alfa Serene, surrendered on Wednesday morning. Though Paul Raj tried to secure bail from the court, the court did not grant him bail, which is when he surrendered. The court has remanded Paul to judicial custody till November 5.
With this, a total of four people, including two builders, have been arrested in connection with the probe. The bail application of the four arrested will be considered by the court on November 8.
According to reports, the third accused builder, Sandeep Mehta, who is the managing director of Jain Housing and Constructions Private Ltd, secured bail from Madras High Court on Wednesday. The court reportedly has ordered that Sandeep Mehta should not be arrested till November 18. Crime Branch chief Tomin J Thachankary has reportedly written a letter to Tamil Nadu police chief to interfere to cancel Mehta’s bail.
Two former officials of Maradu panchayat – the then Secretary Mohammed Ashraf and Junior Superintendent PE Joseph – and Sany Francis, the builder of H20 Holy Faith Builders and Developers Private Limited, were arrested by the investigation team a week ago. The officials were arrested on charges of criminal misconduct by a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, the cases were registered against three builders – Alfa Ventures Private Limited, H20 Holy Faith Builders and Developers Private Limited and Jain Housing and Construction Ltd – on the complaint of apartment residents in Maradu and Panangadu police stations in Kochi. The case against the builders was later handed over to the special investigation team of Crime Branch which has been probing the corruption angle in the construction of the four apartment complexes.
The Crime Branch on Wednesday started to question the council members of Maradu panchayat (at present, the local body is a municipality).
During the probe, Crime Branch officials had also found that about 17 cents of land, where the twin towers of Alfa Serene apartment buildings are built, was a part of the Vembanad lake and was encroached upon.
SC panel recommends interim recompense to 16 more families
Meanwhile, the panel appointed by the Supreme Court to fix the compensation to the evicted residents has recommended a temporary recompense to 16 more families. With this, till now, a temporary compensation has been recommended to 157 flat owners out of the total of 326 apartment owners.
The state government on Tuesday had sanctioned the release of the compensation amount to 38 families.
Meanwhile, the builder of builder Alfa Ventures Private Limited has submitted a report to the panel detailing the amount of money paid by flat owners while purchasing the apartments. Only Jain Housing and Construction Limited had submitted this report before; two other builders are yet to submit this to the panel.