Kerala

SIT probing Monson case expanded

The Crime Branch Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the cheating case against Monson Mavunkal, the self-styled antiquities dealer and confidence trickster, was further expanded on Wednesday.

Ten more officers were included in the team headed by Sparjan Kumar, Inspector General, Thiruvananthapuram Range.

The officers newly inducted into the team included Munambam station house officer (SHO) A.L. Yesudas; Kochi City Cyber Station SHO Arun K.S.; Palluruthy SHO Sylvester K.X; Ernakulam South SHO M.S. Faizal; Puthencruz sub-inspector Saneesh S.R.; Mulavukad assistant sub-inspector Varghese; Central assistant sub inspector Reji T.K.; Fort Kochi station senior civil police officer Sajeevan; senior civil police officer at Kochi city cyber station Shihab; and civil police officer at Kochi city district headquarters Mathew.

New case

Meanwhile, the SIT registered another case against Monson on a petition by Santhosh of Ernakulam that he was cheated in excess of ₹70 lakh. It had emerged that nearly 70% of the objects, which Monson paraded as rare antiquities were cheap knockoffs procured from Santhosh who also used to rent out them for film shooting.

This is the fifth case against Monson who already stands accused of cheating six people for a collective ₹10 crore between 2017 and 2020, a Thiruvananthapuram-based sculptor to the tune of ₹80 lakh, a Pala-based businessman of ₹1.70 crore and also for impersonating as the chairman of TV Samskara channel in which there are other accused as well.

Sabarimala inscription

“We have given the copper plate inscription claimed to be over three centuries old among the Monson's collection to the Archaeological Survey of India for verifying its authenticity,” said Crime Branch sources. The inscription allegedly validating that Dravidian rituals had prevailed in Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple was used during the violent protests in 2018 to justify women’s entry into the hilltop shrine.

The Pandalam royal family, trustees of the Ayyappa temple, had also sought an investigation into the authenticity of the copper plate inscription after it emerged that it had come from Monson’s collection.

The SIT received custody of Monson for three days on Tuesday in the case relating to the cheating of the sculptor. The team had seized four sculptures from the home of the accused last Saturday. His custody will expire on Thursday though the SIT may seek his custody in other cases.


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 7:20:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sit-probing-monson-case-expanded/article36858775.ece

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