Maradu: As the process to demolish four residential highrises gets under way and the flat owners are busy filing applications to seek compensation, it has come to light nearly one-fourth of the property owners are still missing.
The four apartment complexes, which will be pulled down soon to comply with an apex court order over violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, comprise 343 flats and 325 of them have owners. Mysteriously, 84 flat owners are untraceable so far even as the authorities and probe agencies have been collecting detailed information for purposes of investigation, compensation and rehabilitation in the last couple of months.
The four properties that are marked for demolition are: Jain's Coral Cove, Golden Kayaloram, Alfa Serene and H2O Holy Faith.
Their occupants were evicted recently and the pre-demolition processes commenced on Saturday.
Kochi sub-collector Snehil Kumar Singh stated no information is available about the missing owners. (Singh has been appointed to oversee the demolition process as per the Supreme Court order and he is also doubling up as the secretary of the Maradu Municipality where the properties are located.)
Totally, 241 owners have applied for compensation out of which 214 applications have been handed over to the committee set up to decide the compensation. Five more applications will be forwarded to the committee on Sunday.
Ten applications have been kept on hold due to lack of required documents. Twenty owners are in foreign countries and they are expected to return to Kerala soon. They are also among the flat owners who have been accounted for.
In the Jain's Coral Cove, one of the apartment complexes to be demolished, not a single owner has registered the flat in his or her name. However, on humane considerations, they have been put on the list of beneficiaries who could seek compensation.
The compensation committee headed by retired justice Balakrishnan Nair had recently recommended compensation for 107 flat owners. Of them only 13 owners will get
Rs 25 lakh, the maximum allowed, as per SC guidelines.
3 in Crime Branch custody
Muvattupuzha: The Crime Branch has meanwhile taken into custody two former government officials and one builder as the probe into the alleged irregularities that resulted in constructions that violated CRZ guidelines gets going.
Vigilance court judge B Kalam Pasha sent Holy Faith Builders owner Sani Francis, former Maradu Panchayat secretary Muhammad Ashraf and its former junior superintendent P Joseph in custody until October 22.
Their bail plea will be considered on October 22.
The accused, while submitting documents for getting nod for construction approval, hid the fact that the land on which the property came up was paddy field originally, the Crime Branch stated.
Though there was a case filed against the erstwhile Maradu Panchayat for approving a hospital construction by violating the CRZ norms in the past, there was criminal negligence on the part of the officials in approving building construction on a similar land, the Crime Branch said in its plea seeking custody of the accused.
The custody plea was approved by the Vigilance Court after the Crime Branch said that it needed to question one of the accused in detail to probe his financial dealings and collect other information.
Inquiry may cover politicians
Thrippunithura: The probe into the violation of CRZ norms at Maradu will extend to politicians if necessary and if evidence is available, said Crime Branch chief Tomin J Thachankary.
He was speaking after questioning the owner of Holy Faith Builders and former officials of the Maradu Panchayat,
(The panchayat was later upgraded as a municipality.)