Fraud Kerala antique dealer sent to two days police custody

Lokanath Behera, Manoj Abraham, Monson Mavunkal

Kochi: Ever since the arrest of fake antique dealer, Monson Mavunkal on Saturday, TV channels in Kerala are having a field day with juicy tales of how he has been taking people for a ride using his high profile connections, especially with the top brass of the Kerala Police.

On Tuesday, a local court however gave the Crime Branch police two more days custody of Mavunkal after rejecting his bail application.

Mavunkal, 54, who claimed to have "some of the original 30 pieces of silver", was arrested from his home at Chertalai in Alappuzha district on Saturday, even as his daughter's marriage was being fixed.

The case against him is of swindling Rs 10 crore from several persons. His victims had approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with their complaints.

Those with connections with Mavunkal, include former state police chief Loknath Behra, serving additional director general of police Manoj Abraham, State Congress president K. Sudhakaran, former Chief Secretary Jiji Thompson, among others.

The social media also is abuzz with activity and numerous trolls which are hilarious have also come out in good numbers and the target is the Kerala Police.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, two teams from the Forest and the Customs department arrived and conducted inspections at his residence here, which is more or less like a museum.

The Customs served him a notice after around 10 high value cars were found parked at his residence.

The Forest department arrived after TV visuals of his museum showed elephant tusks and asked him to provide for the source from where the antique was purchased, as a good number of items was of wood.

Another bit of information that surfaced at the residence of Mavunkal both in Alappuzha and here, was, after the visit of the then State Police chief Loknath Behra to his museum, a police beat post (is one where the police everyday come and sign in the night, when they go for patrol duty) was put up at his residence.

State BJP president K. Surendran demanded a comprehensive probe by a central agency as then only will the truth will come out as any probe by the Kerala Police, which was actually helping him in everything, is useless.

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.

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