Vigilance, Crime Branch probe pending even a year after Maradu flats demolition

Jain Coral Cove flats being demolished. Photo: Josekutty Panackal

Kochi: The court-ordered demolition of four high-rise residential buildings at Maradu in Kochi was a sensational event in Kerala last year. It has been a year since the flats were demolished for not complying with coastal regulation laws, but legal action for the alleged violation is still pending. Neither the Vigilance Department nor the Crime Branch has filed the chargesheet for corruption-related cases in connection with the violation.

Both the Vigilance Department and the Crime Branch have registered a case for the construction flats in violation of coastal laws. In addition to the builders, employees of the erstwhile Maradu Panchayat, including its former secretary, are also accused. But there has been no significant progress in the case.

Cases involving the flats named Jains Coral Cove (built by Jain Housing and Construction Ltd), Alfa Serene (Alfa Ventures Private Ltd), and H2O Holy Faith (Holy Faith Builders and Developers Pvt Ltd) are being investigated by the Crime Branch, while the case related to Golden Kayaloram (KP Varkey & VS Builders) is being investigated by the Vigilance Department.

The Crime Branch has not received permission from the state government to probe into the role of former Maradu panchayat president and CPM leader KA Devasi.

The case related to the building of flats in violation of coastal laws is still pending before the Supreme Court. The Justice K Balakrishnan Nair Committee has informed the Supreme Court about the amount to be paid by the builders as compensation.

Senior advocate Gaurav Agarwal has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter. The court will hear detailed arguments in the case again on January 19.

There is also the possibility of the flat owners approaching the court again by stating that they have not received adequate compensation. The committee had recommended that only the amount spent on the purchase of the flat be paid as compensation. The owners, however, claim that this is not sufficient compensation and that the compensation should be determined in accordance with the value added.

There is also a suo motu case registered by the southern regional bench of the National Green Tribunal for not complying with its guidelines over the removal of debris after the flats were demolished. This case will be heard again on January 13.

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