Monson Mavunkal | Photo: Facebook
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed the bail pleas moved by controversial self-styled antiques dealer Monson Mavunkal in two separate rape cases, saying the gravity of the accusations against him and his criminal antecedents do not entitle him to any relief.
Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas further said that there was force in the prosecution's apprehensions that the accused may influence the victims and witnesses as well as tamper with the evidence and his release on bail could prejudice the trial in the cases.
In one case, the prosecution has alleged that the survivor, who was a staff of the accused, was raped on different days between January 11, 2020 to September 24, 2021 in the accused's house.
In the other, the prosecution case is that the accused raped the survivor during the period from April 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 repeatedly, while she was working as his staff by threatening to implicate her in a false drug case and also forced her to undergo miscarriage.
Mavunkal's lawyer, in his defence, contended that in both cases the allegations were false as the sexual relationships were consensual.
He also said that "continued detention of the petitioner (accused) was not required and that petitioner was willing to abide by any condition that may be imposed by this court."
The high court, however, rejected the bail applications moved in both cases.
"The nature of accusation and the severity of the punishment, apprehension of the prosecution about influencing the witnesses, the circumstances that are peculiar to the accused and the larger interest of the public all lean against the grant of bail to the petitioner.
"Taking into consideration the nature of crime alleged to have been committed and the surrounding circumstances, I am of the view that this is not a fit case where the petitioner can be released on bail. On an appreciation of the above factors, I find no merit in this bail application and hence the same is dismissed," the judge said in his order in one of the bail pleas.
In the other, Justice Thomas said, "Having due regard to the gravity of the offences alleged against the petitioner (accused) and the circumstances that are peculiar to the accused, which include the clout of influence and the dominating position held by the petitioner over the survivor and the witnesses, apart from the possibility of evidence being tampered with, I find that this is not a fit case where the petitioner can be released on bail.
"Even the criminal antecedents of the petitioner also stare against him while considering the grant of bail. Several cases are alleged to have been committed by the petitioner and therefore such antecedents cannot be ignored while considering the grant of bail to the petitioner. On an appreciation of the above factors, I find no merit in this bail application and hence the same is dismissed."
Mavunkal in his bail pleas had also alleged that the rape cases have been foisted upon him by the police to keep him in prison as they were unable to find anything incriminating in the cheating cases against him that they were investigating.
Mavunkal was arrested on September 25 last year in one of the cheating cases against him. He has been in jail since then and is an accused now in around 10 cases, including those of raping a minor.
A native of Cherthala, Mavunkal, who claims to be in possession of rare and historic antiques, was arrested by the district Crime Branch which has been investigating a case of cheating Rs 10 crore from different people.
Mavunkal apparently borrowed the amount from various people saying he was in need of funds to clear procedures to obtain Rs 2,65,000 crore from his account in a foreign bank.
Many photographs of the accused with KPCC chief K Sudhakaran, senior IPS officials, senior bureaucrats and many others were telecast in the mainstream media.