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Friday, June 2, 2023

Meet Kerala’s fake antique dealer with high connections

Fake antique dealer, Monson Mavunkal, presently cooling his heels in the custody of the Kerala Crime Branch boasts of some high connections with not just politicians but also top Kerala Police officials, this was revealed after pictures of him with the high and mighty came out.

Mavunkal, 54, who claimed to have “some of the original 30 pieces of silver”, was arrested from his home at Chertalai in Alappuzha district on Saturday, even as his daughter’s marriage was being fixed.

The case against him is of swindling Rs 10 crore from several persons. His victims had approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with their complaints.

Those with connections with Mavunkal, include former state police chief Loknath Behra, serving additional director general of police Manoj Abraham, State Congress president K.Sudhakaran, former Chief Secretary Jiji Thompson, among others.

Reacting to the allegations that he had intervened to help Mavunkal in a FEMA case in 2018, Sudhakaran said it’s strange for at that time he was not even an MP.

“I suspect a ‘black hand’ in this with my name being dragged in. The complainant against Mavunkal himself has said he had received a few calls from the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Let me ask you what happened about a case which came out against me of siphoning of Rs 18 crore. There was a very quick case against me and what has happened to that case. I suspect that there is a concerted effort to implicate me, I will make one thing clear, If it is proved that I helped this Mavunkal, whom I know, I will quit public life,” said Sudhakaran.

Sudhakaran said he knows Mavunkal as a skin specialist and he had met him a few times.

“I know him as a skin specialist as I had met him a few times. Let me ask you, why should I suspect such a person when practically all the high and mighty, including top police officers used to visit him. The news that I stayed at his place is baseless. This is nothing but a conspiracy against me and you (media) should probe what’s the interest in this for Vijayan,” said Sudhakaran.

Mavunkal took all his high profile guests into his fold by showcasing antiques in his collection which he claimed included the “staff of Moses” and “two of the 30 silver coins that were taken by Judas to cheat Jesus Christ”.

Police said that he had showcased these “rare” items, a throne said to be used by Tipu Sultan, as well as a huge collection of old Qurans, Bibles (Old Testament and New Testament), and old handwritten copies of Bhagavad Gita.

Mavunkal used to bring several VIPs to his palatial residence, a part of which was converted into museum to house his ‘precious’ antiques.

Speaking to the media former Chief Secretary Jiji Thompson said it was before Covid, that he along with his wife and others had met him as he was a patron of the Kerala Pravasi Malayalee Federation.

“I also saw the antique collection, but I had doubts of its authenticity. He asked me if I knew Loknath Behra. I said I know him as we had worked together but there were no personal relations,” said Thompson.

Reports have now come out that Mavunkal due to his closeness with high ranking police officials, used it, to his benefit and impressed upon cash rich people and got money as short term loans.

Now with Sudhakaran dragging Vijayan’s office into the scam, things are expected to flare up in the days to come.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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