Kerala HC again pulls up police in fake antique dealer case probe

For the second time since it began hearing the ongoing Crime Branch probe in the case of fake antique dealer Monson Mavunkal, the Kerala High Court on Thursday slammed the state police, stressing that there should be a comprehensive probe and there should be no lapses at all.

The court had, on October 29, asked the Director General of Prosecution to present a detailed affidavit on the probe and posted the case for Thursday.

The court said till Mavankal became an accused, he was like a “holy person” and sought to know how the then state police chief (Loknath Behra) and another top police official (serving ADGP Manoj Abraham) visited his so-called museum and even the present state police chief was also seen in the company of Mavunkal.

After the court asked who was behind the visit, the answer came that it was a Keralite woman presently settled in Italy, Anitha Pullayil, who introduced Behra and Abraham to Mavunkal.

The court also pointed out that an intelligence report against Mavunkal was there way back in 2020 and had the police acted on time, even the present Pocso case against him would not have taken place.

The court reminded the Director General of Prosecution that intelligence reports are not to be kept under wraps and said that a very comprehensive probe has to take place in this case.

Counsel for the police pointed out that already one top police official, IGP G. Lekshmana has been suspended for his alleged close links with Mavunkal.

When the case first cropped up, pictures of Behra and Abraham visiting the “museum” of Mavunkal at Kochi went viral.

Mavunkal was arrested by the Crime Branch from his home-cum-museum in the last week of September after victims approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, complaining that they were swindled of Rs 10 crore by this “master fraud”, who managed to even take the top Kerala Police officials for a ride.

Mavunkal sought to impress his high-profile guests 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 as well as 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.