Staff Reporter

MALAPPURAM: A shopping complex at Manjeri town was gutted on Friday. Three shops, including a supermarket and a home appliance shop, functioning at Metro Square Building on Pandikkad Road, were destroyed in the fire.

The loss is estimated at Rs.1 crore. The cause of the fire is unknown though rumours of arson were making the rounds.

The police have started an investigation after the shop owners said all electric circuits had been switched off before they closed the shops on Thursday.

The building belonged to Chulliyil Liyaqath Ali.

Local people noticed the fire on Friday morning. Fire and Rescue Services units reached the spot from Nilambur, Malappuram, Perinthalmanna and Mukkam. The blaze was brought under control after three hours.

Further destruction was prevented by taking precautionary measures. Water was continuously sprayed on a cracker shop in a nearby building to prevent the spread of fire.

A few other shops in the vicinity were also damaged.

The shop owners, in a complaint to the police, said they suspected arson. The building had caught fire two years ago, incurring a loss of Rs.50 lakh.

Another supermarket owned by one of the three shop owners was gutted in 2008.

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