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Crime branch to probe Kerala fake antique dealer's link with Malayalee woman in Italy

 
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 14 (IANS) After the arrest of the fake antique dealer -- Monson Mavunkal last month by the Crime Branch of the Kerala Police, the role of a high profile Italy-settled Malayalee woman, Anita Pullayil, has emerged and the probe team is set to question her.

It was not until a week after the arrest of Mavunkal that the name and the role of Anita Pullayil surfaced. A number of pictures of her seen in the company of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, retired State Police chief Loknath Behra and others went viral.

Eyebrows were raised when she was seen as a guest at a high profile conference of the police and also at an investors meet of the Kerala government.

At the height of the controversy, Pullayil told the media here from Italy that she was more of a social worker and has been involved in numerous charity works.

But with more pictures of her in presence with those who matter in Kerala surfaced, she has gone silent and with Mavunkal now in the custody of the Crime branch police, sources in the know of things reveal that the police will now ask Pullayil to appear before them.

Incidentally, it was Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, who first expressed doubts on the silence of Vijayan regarding the Mavunkal issue, pointed out that Pullayil was seen in crucial roles during the Loka Kerala Sabha, and numerous reports of her role and connections she had with Vijayan's office. The Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) is a common platform for Keralites living across the globe launched by the Kerala government.

The Congress and other opposition has raised the antique dealer issue in the Assembly session, and Vijayan's replies have not satisfied them. The Assembly was on a short break on account of the Puja celebrations and is set to resume on October 20, the opposition is likely to rake it up again.

But Vijayan, on Wednesday caught the Congress party unawares when his cabinet gave the nod to seek permission from the Kerala Governor to initiate a Vigilance probe against 86-year-old veteran former Congress Minister Aryadan Mohammed. The probe is sought to be based on a complaint given by Solar scam accused Saritha Nair that he misused his official position and took a bribe of Rs 40 lakh during (2011-16). Mohammed retired from active politics in 2016.

--IANS
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