Court to hear case against civic body next week

The Muvattupuzha Vigilance Court will hear next week a petition on the alleged collusion between the Thrikkakara municipality and a real estate developer to reclaim 2.5 acre of wetland and set up an apartment complex, causing the State exchequer a loss of Rs. 6 crore.

Pramod Paraparambil, a native of Ernakulam, who filed a petition before the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, P.Madhavan, alleged that the local body had overlooked a due of Rs.6.10 crore by the realty group as permit fee and interest. The court arraigned 29 persons, including the officials who had served the local body in the relevant period, and the District Collectors of Ernakulam for the past 10 years.

They have been accused of breach of trust, destruction of evidence, conspiracy and violating provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

No objection certificate

As per the petition, the realty group had obtained a no objection certificate (NOC) for three years to construct the project comprising 700 apartments from then Thrikkakara panchayat in 2010. The local body, however, had been included in the Kerala Building Rules 1999 as early as 2006, which stipulated examination of the construction plan and the site and issue of permits instead of an NOC.

Though Thrikkakara was declared a municipality a few days after it issued the NOC, the builder approached the municipality seeking a permit in 2012. In the meantime, the files relating to the earlier application and the NOC went missing from the municipality office.

According to the petitioner, the builder owed the municipality a payment of Rs.3.54 crore under the Kerala Building Rules by this time. The local body, however, extended the permit period for another three years by charging just Rs.11 lakh.

Now the project was complete and the builder expected an earning of around Rs.91 crore from the sale of these apartments. The petition is slated for a detailed hearing on September 30.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 1:44:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/Court-to-hear-case-against-civic-body-next-week/article14650520.ece

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