Kerala

HC wants no cover-up in Monson case probe

The Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that there could not be any cover-up in the investigation into the cases registered against self-styled antiquities dealer Monson Mavunkal, merely because some of the high-ranking police officers are allegedly involved.

Justice Devan Ramachandran while hearing a petition filed by Ajith E.V., a former driver of Monson alleging police harassment, impleaded the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as a respondent in the case as the court felt that the investigation had to be conducted on a larger scale and the police required the assistance of other agencies.

The court observed that the communication addressed to the Director General of Prosecution by the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, said that Anitha Pullayil, global coordinator of the women's wing of Pravasi Malayali Federation, was also in the picture. It was she who had invited the high-ranking police officers to the home of Monson.

That apart, in the letter addressed to the ED, former State Police Chief Loknath Behera wrote that there were various incriminating inputs against Monson and that he had travelled abroad most of the time.

The court observed that prime facie there appeared to be something much more than what meets the eye. There should be a proper investigation into the activities of the fake antiquities dealer. The court asked why no police officer had been arraigned as accused in the case and whether an investigation was carried out into the role of the non-resident association.

The court asked why no action was taken under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, against Monson after the former State Police Chief raised doubts regarding the genuineness of the artistic treasures and antiques following his visit to his home.

The court pointed out that no action was taken against Monson even after an intelligence report indicated that he was frequently going abroad for dealing in antiquities even though he had no licence for the same. These things certainly ought to have alerted the police. If it were some ordinary citizen, he/she would have been put in jail long back. But Monson was allowed to have a free run and access to the State Police Chief.

Director-General of Prosecution T.A. Shaji submitted that the Government had nothing to hide and the ED was already alerted about the activities of Monson. Therefore, he had no objection to the ED being impleaded in the case. In fact, the investigation was being conducted from various angles.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 5:40:26 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-wants-no-cover-up-in-monson-case-probe/article37439180.ece