HC takes strong stand in fake antique dealer case

The fake antique dealer sought to impress his high-profile guests by showcasing antiques in his collection.

Kochi : The Kerala High Court which has taken a strong stand in the way the police have been going in the fake antique dealer case of now arrested Monson Mavunkal, on Friday, said “this case cannot be seen as a joke”.

The police appears to have taken the brunt of the court’s displeasure after pictures of Mavunkal and one Anita Pullayil’s presence in the company of top police officials, Vijayan and other top persons, have surfaced.

The court also sought to know “who is Anita Pullayil — a Kerala native based in Italy, and what was her role”.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) which has also started probing the case told the court that they are able to look into the financial aspects and for other angles, a CBI probe would be the best bet.

The court has also asked the ED and the police to file detailed statements.

Mavunkal, who has now become a household name on account of his fake antique collections and with every passing day after his arrest 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 — 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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