Vigilance in hot pursuit of CRZ violators

The CRZ violations at Chilavannur are under the Supreme Court’s gaze and the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is still pursuing the case against the violators.

Published: 04th November 2019 03:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th November 2019 03:57 AM   |  A+A-

Apartment complexes, near Chilavannur backwaters which allegedly flouted CRZ norms| file Photo

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The CRZ violations at Chilavannur are under the Supreme Court’s gaze and the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is still pursuing the case against the violators. Though the Kerala High Court had quashed a Vigilance case on the issue, the Supreme Court sent notices to the stakeholders on October 21 based on a review petition.

The VACB officials are probing the cases against the accused, except respondent Cyril Paul, one of the parties accused in the petition filed by activist A V Antony. “We have taken a legal opinion to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to initiate an investigation against Cyril Paul. As he is the lone counter-petitioner in the case in the High Court, legal experts have suggested us to carry on with the investigation against other 14 accused in the case,” said Asok Kumar R, DySP, VACB Kochi.

The VACB, which started the probe in 2014, submitted the final report on May 8, 2015. The FIR mentioned that the buildings were constructed violating the Kerala government norms and without obtaining NOC from the Kerala Coastal Management Authority (KCZMA).

Following an interim order from the High Court on December 6, 2018, the VACB submitted the final report in March 2019 stating that the accused officials attract only departmental action and fines should be levied on the builders for violating norms. The court scrapped the FIR saying: “The Vigilance registered FIRs against many persons based on quick verification report. It appears that the Vigilance is under a misconception as to how or on what material a crime can be registered.”  

However, Antony has alleged external influences in the case. “The VACB officials are yet to take my full statement. I doubt that there are external pressures on the officials to go slow with the investigation. In my opinion, the VACB team should also probe the involvement of architects and division councillors in the issue,” said Antony.

Interestingly, Cyril Paul, who got the corporation approvals after thorough scrutiny, is yet to receive any notice from the apex court. “During the construction period, no officials turned up with stop memos and notices. I have received all the permits, including completion certificate from the city administration and have been remitting building tax for the past 15 years. Therefore, i will approach the apex court,” said Cyril Paul.


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