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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], October 6 (ANI): Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walkout from the state assembly on Tuesday alleging that the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was protecting top police officials who had nexus with Monson Maunkal, a fake antique dealer accused of cheating people of crores of rupees.
Replying to Congress MLA PT Thomas', who had moved a notice of adjournment motion on the issue, Chief Minister denied that top cops in the state tried to protect Monson Maunkal and said that the police investigation on the case is progressing.
"The government received a complaint on September 6 against Monson Maunkal for fraudulently embezzling crores of rupees by displaying fake antiquities. The complaint was lodged with the police and the case was registered on September 23 and an investigation was started. In this case, the police have been able to defend the accused's attempt to seek anticipatory bail in court. The accused was arrested by the police on September 25 on the basis of clear evidence. The accused is still in police custody," said Vijayan.
Regarding the opposition's allegation that former Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera and other senior officials visited the house of Maunkal, Chief Minister said that immediately after the visit of the DGP, he asked the Intelligence wing on December 21, 2019 to carry out a probe.
"Based on this, the state intelligence investigated and reported the matter to the state police. Following this, the state DGP had sent a letter to the Directorate of Enforcement on February 5, 2020. This makes it clear that the police were moving in the right direction and further investigation is going on," Vijayan said.
He also denied the opposition's allegation that the government supported those who tried to deceive the people by fabricating chempola (old engraving) regarding the rituals at Sabarimala.
Taking up the issue in the Assembly, leader of opposition VD Satheesan alleged police had intelligence in May 2019 that Maunkal was a fraudster and his antiques were fake and in January 2020, they had submitted a detailed inquiry report revealing he is a fraud.
"Police instead of taking a case against him was providing security by placing a beat box. The visit of top cops to the house gave credibility and protection to the fake antique dealer. For two years no action was taken and now a probe is carried out when top cops who visited the house are still holding the position of power, " he said before staging the walkout in protest.
The Crime Branch had arrested Monson Mavunkal, who had allegedly cheated people by selling fake antiques. The police had also formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with Crime Branch Thiruvananthapuram Range IG Sparjan Kumar heading the team under Crime Branch Head S Sreejith. (ANI)