Italian link in Kerala antique dealer case, a lady now in limelight


First it was the solar scam, then came the gold smuggling case and now it’s the fraudulent antique dealer and the common factor in all these is, it was a lady in the limelight.

Eyebrows have now been raised ever since the name of a Kerala lady based in Italy surfaced after 54-year-old Kochi resident Monson Mavunkal was arrested by the Crime Branch police from his home cum museum, last Saturday (Sep 25) after victims approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with their complaints that they were swindled of Rs 10 crore by this master ‘fraud’, who managed to even take the top most Kerala Police officials for a ride.

For a while the name of the lady was not heard but after a few days it has now surfaced and she herself said she has no role in anything of what’s being heard.

Anita Pullalyil is the lady whose connections with Mavunkal and not to mention with high ranking police officials like the then State Police chief Loknath Behra, with a number of pictures of she hogging the attention and is seen in the company of none other than Vijayan, Behra, among others.

Anitha is based in Italy but hails from Trissur and took the route of the Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) and became close to not just Behra, but also to Mavunkal and numerous other bigwigs.

LKS is a global meet of Keralite diaspora settled outside Kerala and it was first launched by the Vijayan government in 2018 and the second edition was held in January 2020.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Saturday expressed suspicion in the silence of Vijayan on the issue of Mavunkal and other things associated with it.

“Vijayan has to break his silence as in the backdrop of LKS and using the links of the office of Vijayan, massive fraud was done. Allegations of this did surface during the LKS. This particular lady was seen in a crucial role during the LKS and now there are numerous reports of her role and the connections she has had with Vijayan’s office,” said Muraleedharan.

“It’s said that Behra in May 2020 had sought a probe by an intelligence agency, but why was no probe initiated and the Home department has to give an answer for it. There were a few complaints against Mavunkal also, but that too was swept under the carpet. Hence Vijayan has to break his silence. This is similar to the solar scam (which took place in 2015 when the office of then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had a role). Vijayan should demand a probe by central agency,” added Muraleedharan.

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.