A special investigation team of Kerala Police’s Crime Branch on Tuesday arrested three people in Kochi in connection with the illegal construction of four apartment complexes in the city’s Maradu area, The Indian Express reported. Last month, the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of the apartment buildings, saying they were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

One of those arrested is Sani Francis, the director of Holy Faith Builders and Developers Private Limited. He is one of the four builders who constructed the illegal apartments. Mohammed Ashraf and PE Joseph, who were the secretary and junior superintendent of the erstwhile area panchayat – Maradu is now a municipality – were arrested for granting permits for the illegal construction.

These are the first arrests in the case and more are likely to be made in the coming days. The accused have been charged with cheating, conspiracy and corruption.

“The case was probed based on the Supreme Court order,” Additional Director General of Police Tomin Thachankary told The NewsMinute. “There is conspiracy, vigilance angle and violation of CRZ norms in it.” The crime branch had seized several documents from the offices of the Maradu municipality earlier this month.

In its order on September 27, the Supreme Court said the demolition of the buildings with 343 waterfront flats should be completed within 138 days. The state government has set January 9, 2020, as the deadline for completing the demolition. The removal of debris and normalisation of the site are scheduled to be completed between January 10, 2020, and February 9, 2020.

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