Kerala man dupes people of Rs 5 crore in antiques scam

Kerala man dupes people of Rs 5 crore claiming antique collection

Pictures of the accused with many prominent persons like Congress president in Kerala and Lok Sabha MP K Sudhakaran surfaced

 Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

Causing embarrassment to many prominent personalities in Kerala, including MPs and IPS officers, a man held for duping several persons of around Rs 10 core by posing as an antique merchant, was allegedly having connections with them.

Pictures of the accused with many prominent persons like Congress president in Kerala and Lok Sabha MP K Sudhakaran and a minister in Kerala have come out and those who were cheated had stated to the police that the accused used his connection with prominent persons to convince them.

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 'Throne of Tipu Sultan', watch costing Rs 30 crore and first telephone of India. Most of those were suspected to be made locally.

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

Several luxury cars were found on the premises of his houses. It was suspected that many of the cars were damaged in floods and purchased for throwaway price. Though he claimed to be heading an organisation of non-resident Indians, it was found that he was not even having a genuine passport. His claim that he was having doctorate was also found to be false and his real qualification was still unknown.

Four persons had complained that Mavungal cheated them by collecting over Rs 5 crore after making them convinced that Rs 2.62 lakh crore was due on him as proceeds of sale of antiques to royal families in countries like UAE, Brunei and London was held up due to technical and procedural issues and the money was required to clear it. Meanwhile, several other cheating complaints against him also surfaced.

One of the petitioners, Shammer, said that whenever they raised suspicions over his dealing, Mavungal convinced them by using his links with prominent persons. A portion of the money was even handed over in the presence of Sudhakaran. 

However, Sudhakaran said that though he had acquaintance with Mavungal, he was unaware of his dealings and was not associated with it. He also said that the allegations against him could be part of a political ploy by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

There were also allegations on 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 house with family also came out.

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

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