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Kerala: SIT grills NRI woman allegedly linked to controversial antique dealer | Latest News India

The presence of Anitha Pullayil, Italy-based Keralite who had alleged links with Kochi-based controversial antique collector Monson Mavunkal, at the concluding sessions of the Kerala government’s annual NRI meet, Loka Kerala Sabha, on Saturday stirred a row in the state.

After the controversy erupted, the department of Non-Residents’ Keralalites’ Affairs (Norka) said she was not invited to the function and she came on her own at the concluding day, which was open to the public. There were also reports that she was taken out of the meeting venue after newsmen recognized her.

But later Pullayil told a Malayalam news channel that she was not evicted from the function as reported by a section of media, but newsmen noticed her while she was coming out of the function. She said she attended it since she takes keen interest in issues of non-resident Indians. But she refused to say anything about her alleged friend of Ella Monson Mavunkal and the case against her for naming the minor survivor during a television talk.

Later, Norka vice-chairman P Sreeramakrishnan said she was not invited to the function and she was not a delegate either. “Norka is not involved with her visit from Ella so we have no plan to inquire about it,” he said. But, Kerala legislative assembly speaker MB Rajesh said he will inquire how she arrived at the function organized at the high-security legislative assembly complex.

A senior crime branch official said that she had been in the state for many days and officials investigating cases related to Monson Mavunkal have grilled her in detail. The special investigation team registered a case against her last year after she named the survivor allegedly sexually assaulted by Mavunkal. In jail, Mavunkal is facing 12 cases of cheating and a case of sexual assault.

Mavunkal, who rubbed shoulders with rich and powerful as an “antique collector”, was arrested in September last year after five businessmen complained to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan of being cheated of 10 crore. Later many other businessmen filed cheating complaints against him. A minor girl, who was the daughter of one of his employees, also filed a sexual assault compliant against him.

The government constituted a special investigation team (SIT), which recorded the statement of Pullayil, who is believed to have introduced many police officers to Mavunkal. He allegedly used his connections with the officers to cheat and intimidate gullible antique buyers. He claimed antiques in his possession of him included the staff of Moses, a piece of fabric from a garment worn by Jesus, and a dahi dandi (butter pot) used by Lord Krishna and Tippu Sultan’s sword. He remained a VIP in social, art and political circles.

After many cases surfaced Pullayil distanced herself from Mavunkal and told news channels that she had advised those cheated by him to approach the police. Pullayil added she was unaware of his shady deals de ella and she started avoiding him after she got an inkling regarding some of them. Shocking details of cover-up and laxity came to light after his arrest of him. Many police officers regularly visited his house, museum and a cosmetology clinic in Kochi that he ran on the basis of a fake degree. Later police suspended inspector general (IG), A Lakshmana for his alleged proximity to him with the alleged conman.

Pullayil had told a TV channel that when former state police chief Loknath Behra visited Kochi for a function, she advised him to visit the museum of Mavunkal. Photos of Behra sitting on the “throne of Tippu Sultan,” as claimed by Mavunkal, had invited enough embarrassment to the police. Till his arrest of him, he was known as Dr Monson Mavunkal, a Germany-returned cosmetologist. Later SIT found that he only studied till higher secondary and never visited any foreign country.


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