Kerala fake antiques seller was allegedly known to cops

Kerala fake antiques seller was allegedly known to cops, MPs

He had also claimed in some videos that he was in possession of a couple of silver coins that Judas received for betraying Jesus Christ

Monson Chacko alias Monson Mavungal, 52, was held by the Kerala Police's Crime Branch during the late hours of Saturday. Credit: Special Arrangement

A man held by police on Saturday accused of cheating several individuals by collecting around Rs 10 crore after claiming to possess centuries-old antiques is allegedly connected to prominent personalities in Kerala, including MPs and IPS officers.

Pictures of the accused with these prominent personalities have begun to surface online and those who were cheated had stated to the police that the accused used his connection to these well-placed individuals to convince his victims that his antiques were genuine.

Monson Chacko alias Monson Mavungal, 52, a native of Alappuzha district in Kerala, was held by the Kerala Police's Crime Branch during the late hours of Saturday. A massive collection of 'antiques' at his home-turned-museum in Kochi were found to be fake ones. It included the 'Throne of Tipu Sultan', a watch costing Rs 30 crore and the first telephone of India. Most of them were suspected to be made by local carpenters.

He had also claimed in some videos that he was in possession of a couple of silver coins that Judas received for betraying Jesus Christ and clothes used to wipe the blood of Jesus Christ.

Around ten cars luxury cars were found on the premises of his houses. It was suspected that many were actually those damaged in floods and worn-out cars which were purchased for a throw-away price. Though he claimed to be heading an organisation of Non-Resident Indians, it was found that he did not even have a genuine passport. His claim that he was having a doctorate was also found to be false and his educational qualification is still unknown.

Four persons had complained that Mavungal cheated them by collecting over Rs 5 crore after convincing them that Rs 2.62 lakh crore due to him as proceeds for the sale of antiques to royal families in countries like UAE was held up due to technical and procedural issues and the money was required to clear it.

One of the petitioners, Shammer, said that whenever they raised suspicions over his dealing, Mavungal convinced them otherwise by using his links with prominent people. A portion of the money was even handed over in the presence of a Congress MP holding a key party position. A picture of Mavungal with a minister in Kerala also came out.

There were also allegations of attempts by a couple of senior police officers to sabotage the investigation by changing the investigation officer. But the investigation was later transferred to Crime Branch after those who were cheated petitioned higher-ups. Pictures of senior IPS officers at Mavungal's home have also surfaced.

There were also unconfirmed reports that some senior police officers were present at Monson's house in connection with a ceremony when the Crime Branch team reached there to nab him.

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