Maradu case: Crime Branch takes statements of former civic officials

Days to go: H2O Holy Faith, one of the four apartments at Maradu, ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court, on Wednesday.

Days to go: H2O Holy Faith, one of the four apartments at Maradu, ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court, on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

However, they are unlikely to be arraigned as accused in Maradu flats case

The Crime Branch (CB) special squad investigating irregularities in the construction of apartment complexes at Maradu recorded the statements of two former local body officials on Wednesday.

A former secretary who held the post between 2007 and 2011 immediately after permits were granted for the construction of the apartment complexes and a junior superintendent who was posted at then panchayat during 2006-2007 were summoned to the CB office in the city.

However, CB sleuths declined to share their names, saying that it would be unfair to do so as their statements were recorded as part of collecting information for the probe, and that they were unlikely to be arraigned as accused.

“We summoned the two former officials as they would have been privy to happenings in the local body when permits were granted and its immediate aftermath and hence would be better placed to provide an independent and unbiased account. The information they shared has turned out to be very useful,” said an officer associated with the investigation.

Meanwhile, the survey of the apartment complexes initiated by the Crime Branch with the help of Revenue officials stands completed. The surveyors had held discussions with CB sleuths who are now awaiting a detailed survey report to proceed further on that count.

Besides, the Crime Branch recorded the statements of a few apartment owners of Jain Coral Cove on Wednesday.

The recording of statements of apartment owners remains an ongoing process, while the builders are also likely to be summoned shortly.

Earlier this month, the CB had carried out a three-day search and seizure operation in Maradu municipality during which hundreds of documents related to the apartments concerned were seized. This was followed by a day-long similar operation at the offices of Holy Faith Builders and Developers, builders of H2O Holy Faith Apartment, and Alfa Ventures and Jain Housing and Construction Ltd, builders of Alfa Serene and Jain Coral Cove apartments respectively last Saturday.“We are yet to undertake a detailed examination of the documents seized. We will be on it shortly,” the officer said. The CB inspected the offices of the builders after the Maradu and Panangad police registered cases against all the three builders on petitions filed by apartment owners.

Tomin J. Thachankary, ADGP, Crime Branch, had reviewed the progress of the probe in the city earlier this month. The CB has constituted a special team led by Superintendent of Police V.M. Mohammed Rafeeq to probe the apartment case. The team comprises investigation officer Jossy Cherian and other senior officers, including six inspectors.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 3:13:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cb-takes-statements-of-former-civic-officials/article29630849.ece

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