x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Indian police inquiry into developer 'almost finished'

Police in India say investigations into Apple A Day Properties, which is alleged to have defrauded more than 100 UAE investors, are nearing completion.

DUBAI // Police in India say investigations into a property company alleged to have defrauded more than 100 UAE investors are nearing completion.

Buyers have accused Apple a Day Properties of failing to deliver the "seven-star" hotel flats they paid for four years ago.

Now cases have been brought on behalf of almost every buyer who complained to police about the developer.

"Charge sheets have been filed in 80 per cent of the cases and the remaining ones will be done soon," said a police officer in Kerala, who asked not to be identified.

He said the Kerala high court was looking into the cases and had appointed Kerala State Legal Services Authority to act as a mediator.

Apple a Day sold investors on the idea of luxury hotel flats in a complex near Cochin airport in Kerala.

The developer told buyers their flats would be completed by 2008, but the project remains in limbo with only 60 per cent of construction complete.

Unhappy investors in the UAE formed the Apple Suites Owners Association last year, vowing to keep pushing Indian authorities until the matter was resolved.

Sanjeev Dan Mathews, an Abu Dhabi resident who says he sank more than Dh100,000 in the project, is not happy with the progress.

"There has to be a quick solution to the matter," Mr Mathews said. "It cannot be prolonged for so long. Police are not doing a good job in this matter.

"We held several discussions with the builders here and in Kerala, and they only bought time by giving us false assurances. We are afraid that, with time, the half-built structures will become entirely useless and only the investors will suffer."

Another UAE resident, George Mathews, said a man who invested in the property lost his job recently and did not have any way to support himself when he went back to India.

"Many people invested in the property thinking that it would act as a source of income when they return home," he said.

He said he had been told a verdict would be delivered by the Kerala high court next month to decide if the site could be seized.

"We are hoping that the verdict will be in our favour and the culprits are punished," Mr Mathews said.

frahman@thenational.ae