Kochi: The crime branch team investigating the illegal construction of four apartment complexes at Maradu on Tuesday issued notices to all the 21 elected representatives of former Maradu panchayat between 2006 and 2010 asking them to be present at the crime branch office in the coming days to take their statements as part of the investigation. Similar notices have been issued to the 33 elected representatives of Maradu municipality who served as councillors between 2011 and 2013.
Maradu panchayat became a municipality in November 2010 and it was during the period from 2006 to 2013, all the four buildings — Alfa Serene, Holy Faith H20, Jains Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram — acquired permits. Crime branch sources said that the action is based on the suspicion that some of the elected representatives used their influence on civic body officials and bribed them to issue illegal permits.
“Many of the panchayat members later became councillors when Maradu was raised to municipality. The officers collected crucial information against the involvement of elected representatives in giving sanctions to construction of the buildings during the interrogation of two retired Maradu panchayat officials — the then secretary Mohammed Ashraf and then joint superintendent P E Joseph — who were arrested earlier. Each day two councillors will be summoned,” said a crime branch officer.
Meanwhile, the Ernakulam District Principal Sessions Court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Alfa Ventures Pvt Ltd director Paul Raj, one of the four builders who are accused in the illegal construction of the apartment complexes. The court accepted the prosecution’s submission that the investigation and evidence collection is still on progress and Raj’s custody would be inevitable.
The crime branch will now pursue the arrest of Raj. But the investigating officers said that Raj has been absconding for the past one week.
Meanwhile, Jain Housing and Constructions has secured an interim bail from the Madras high court preventing their arrest for four weeks. “The court has given four weeks’ time to Jain Housing and Constructions to move a court in Kerala seeking anticipatory bail. Though a team of CB officials have conducted a search in the builder’s head office in Chennai last week, the staffs concerned were missing,” said a CB source.
ADGP crime branch Tomin J Thachankary has written a letter to the advocate general of Tamil Nadu for filing an appeal challenging the granting of anticipatory bail on the ground that the agency was not heard when the bail was given.
Also, the crime branch custody period of P E Joseph, Mohammed Ashraf and Holy Faith Builders and Developers Ltd director Sani Francis ended on Tuesday evening. They were presented before the court and sent back to judicial custody.