What if fake antique dealer Monson Mavunkal is presently cooling his heels in jail, the truth surfaced on Tuesday that he had a whale of a time when the state was under strict Covid protocols with no one allowed to freely move out. He used to get fish, coconuts and other things in the police vehicle of a now retired IPS official, from outside his home district.
This was revealed by his former driver Jaison and the revelation has come after the Kerala Police’s Crime Branch gave a clean chit to police officials who were allegedly close to Mavunkal.
Jaison said that the official vehicle of then DIG S. Surendran was used to ferry coconuts and fish from Alappuzha to his house here.
Another revelation by Jaison was that the now suspended IG of Police G. Lekshmana had given passes to Mavunkal to move about freely when strict Covid protocols were in place and free movement on the roads was restricted.
On one occasion, Mavunkal travelled in a police vehicle from Trissur to Cochin airport.
These revelations have come when those who were cheated by Mavunkal approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last week, seeking a CBI investigation as they expressed doubts about the Crime Branch probe’s outcome.
It was only when the victims, cheated to the tune of Rs 10 crore by Mavunkal, approached Vijayan in September last year that the scam was busted and eventually led to his arrest.
When the case first surfaced in September, pictures of now retired state police chief Loknath Behra and serving Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham visiting the “museum” of Mavunkal at Kochi went viral.
As the matter went before the court, it asked how these police officials never thought about how a museum like this could function as the rules are very strict about it. The court also sought to know why the police set up a beat box at Mavunkal’s house and the museum.
Mavunkal used to bring several VIPs to his palatial residence, a part of which was converted into a museum to house his ‘precious’ antiques, which he claimed included the “staff of Moses” and “two of the 30 silver coins that were taken by Judas to identify Jesus Christ”.
Police said that he also displayed 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 the Bhagavad Gita.
Mavunkal, since his arrest, continues to be in judicial custody.