KOCHI: What happened to case file No VC No-4/2014/EKM registered by the Vigilance Department in Ernakulam? The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) is completely clueless on this high-profile case that pertains to illegal constructions carried out by prominent personalities at Chilavanoor near Kochi, violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in 2014.
At a time when the Supreme Court has acted tough against the five apartment complexes at Maradu for CRZ violation, the VACB has pushed to the cold storage the case file of similar CRZ violations involving 10 major builders and three prominent personalities at Chilavanoor. Officers continue to remain tight-lipped on the case and no progress has been made in the investigation even after an expert committee did a scientific survey of the spot and submitted a detailed report to the Vigilance confirming CRZ violations and encroachments by the accused.
“When an officer takes up the file for investigation, he or she will be immediately transferred. Frequent transfer of officers is a purported move by the authorities concerned to scuttle the probe and ensure that the investigation remains inconclusive,” said a senior Vigilance officer.
It was in 2014 that the Vigilance Department registered the first case in connection with the CRZ violation. “The list of accused includes a few prominent personalities and it is the reason why the case file has not been touched,” the officer said.
The case was initially probed by a team of Vigilance officers as per an order of the Vigilance Court in Thrissur when a Chilavanoor resident named A V Antony approached the court submitting a petition detailing CRZ violations and large-scale corruption. The expert committee also confirmed the violations.
It was between 2002 and 2014 that the said violators connived with Corporation officials for carrying out construction projects violating norms. The Kerala High Court had also ordered a survey of Chilavanoor Lake following allegations of massive CRZ violations and encroachment. Even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its audit report of Local Self-Governments for 2013 had listed out violations on the banks of the lake, which became one of the premium waterfront real estate spots in the state.