Kerala Fraudster Monson Mavunkal Jolts Press Club
It was alleged that the money for last year's annual gathering of the press club was sent to secretary's personal account.
Remember Monson Mavunkal? The man who defrauded several people on pretext of selling them antiques from his personal collection? He is back in news almost two months after his arrest, this time rattling Kerala's press club.
Three top officials of Kerala's Press Club have been removed from their respective posts after it was found that alleged fraudster Monson Mavunkal had sponsored the organisation's event last year. Press Club President, secretary P. Sasikanth, and treasurer Sijo Painadath were ousted on Friday after the emergency district committee.
Also Read: Kerala's Handsome Hustler: How Monson Mavunkal Bragged His Way To Fame
The panel cited a 'serious error of judgment in accepting the dubious sponsorship' from Mavunkal, The Hindu reported. Kerala Union of Working Journalists manages the Press Club and organises annual family events. While raising the funds for last year's event, the money was transferred to secretary's personal bank account, instead of the press club. The revelation was made by Sahin Antony, a reporter with 24 News channel, who is under scanner for links with Mavunkal.
Mavunkal was arrested on September 25 over allegations of defrauding people with claims that he would sell them antiques from his private collection. He would claim that his treasure chest was a frozen account that he jointly held with an individual called V J Patel in Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). The account, Mavunkal claimed, contained the money he made from 25 years of trade in 'antique diamonds'.
Six people, Yakoob Purayil, Anoop V Ahammed, Saleem Edathil, M T Shameer, Sidhique Purayil and Shanimon, filed a complaint against Mavunkal after they were defrauded on pretext of antiques from Mavunkal's personal collection. He had told them that his account had been frozen for violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and that a legal fight was on, allegedly, through Delhi-based legal firm Gupta Associates, as per an earlier report filed by Binu Karunakaran for the Boom.
The complainants claimed they were defrauded of Rs 10 crore between June 2017 and November 2020, the money transferred in multiple installments to accounts of persons known to Monson or his relatives. By June 2019, Anoop Mohammed and Shanimon had together parted with Rs 6 crore and were being pressured for more. Shanimon's share was only Rs 16 lakhs. "When I first met Monson in Bengaluru, he had around six black cats in tow. With him were people whom he introduced as IRS officials. As a businessman, I have met a lot of people and am familiar with many types of businesses. But dealing in antiques was new to me. We thought it wouldn't be prudent to seek proof for financial stability because he claimed his accounts were frozen," said Anoop, a businessman with interests in hospitality and construction.
Interestingly, Mavunkal's rapport with power corridors has come under scanner too. The accused owns a museum at his residence in Kaloor. Many influential people have been seen at his 'museum'. Several videos and photographs show that Monson made it a point to seat them on a throne that he claimed to belong to Tipu Sultan.
Making his rapport with the power corridors evident, two current ministers in the Left Democratic Front government —Roshi Augustine and Ahammed Devarkovil, three top officials of the police including Loknath Behera, who recently retired as state police chief, two Inspector Generals of police — Lakshman G and S Surendran — were seen adorning the throne. In Behera's picture, Manoj Abraham, an Assistant Director General of Police, is seen posing with a drawn sword. Others include actor Mohanlal and a host of other celebrities from the film field.
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