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Kerala fake antique dealer case: Oppn, govt trade charges in Assembly

Kerala fake antique dealer case
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Assembly on Tuesday witnessed trading of charges between the ruling and treasury benches over the now arrested fake antique dealer Monson Mavunkal with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stating that no one will be spared.

Vijayan added that the Archaeological Survey of India and DRDO have been asked to probe the validity of the antiques which are in possession of Mavunkal.

Vijayan was replying to an adjournment motion moved by Congress legislator P.T. Thomas, who linked the role of recently retired State Police chief Loknath Behra and a Kerala woman (Anita Pullalyil) hailing from Trissur, now settled in Italy in the fake antique case.

Thomas asked in the House, "How come this lady was present in key conferences of the Kerala Police and also of the Kerala government." He alleged that she was the link between Mavunkal and the government.

Replying to this Vijayan took a dig and without naming anyone, said, "All in Kerala know who was the one who had gone and stayed there for treatment. I am not going into all such details now. Everything is now being probed by the police," said Vijayan.

Vijayan was referring to State Congress president K. Sudhakaran, who had approached Mavunkal for some skin ailment. Though Vijayan did not name Sudhakaran, it's known to all, as Sudhakaran himself had admitted that he had visited Mavunkal.

Vijayan informed that four different cases and a criminal case have also been registered against Mavunkal and none will escape the law.

Thomas pointed out that Behra went to the extent of providing police security to the antique museum of the fraudster antique dealer.

"All have seen the pictures of top police officials (Behra and now serving additional director general of police Manoj Abraham) visiting Mavunkal's museum and it's surprising that even after suspicion was raised and a letter was there from the police, it took two years for the police to probe the case. It's really surprising that you (Vijayan) said you came to know of this fraud only recently, which means you did not see the police report filed two years back," said Thomas and pointed out that the authenticity of a copper plate inscription on Sabarimala in Mavunkal's possession has also now come up.

Vijayan, however, pointed out that since the entire case is being probed which includes the issue on Sabarimala also, at the moment he will not be able to reveal any more details.

With Vijayan's reply, Speaker M.B. Rajesh was satisfied and he denied leave for the adjournment motion and soon Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan got up and said it was natural that public personalities like politicians will be photographed at various places.

"The Intelligence had given a very detailed report in 2019 about Mavunkal and his deeds, but nothing was done. It was the police which gave credibility to this fraudster by providing security and top police officials visited him. We will cooperate with any agency and no need to h target anyone and if anyone is targeted, we will surely hit back," said Satheesan and added that even film stars had gone for beauty treatment.

Satheesan later walked out with other opposition legislators, after permission was denied to discuss this issue.

54-year-old 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 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 a museum to house his 'precious' antiques.

Last month he was arrested by the Crime Branch after six people complained of getting cheated by Mavunkal.—IANS