The Kerala High Court on Tuesday asked the State Police chief whether he trusts the police under his command to carry out a proper investigation into the complaints against self-proclaimed 'antique dealer' Monson Mavunkal when allegations are "flying thick and high" against police officers of various ranks in the state. "Allegations are flying thick and high against police officers of several ranks in the state. In such a situation, can the Crime Branch conduct a proper investigation (into complaints against Mavunkal)," was one of the queries posed to state police chief Anil Kant by Justice Devan Ramachandran.
The court said that while the allegations against the police officers may not be correct, it asked if the police could be trusted since the force provided protection to the 'antique' dealer despite being aware about the kind of items -- including elephant tusks -- which he had in his possession. "I don't know. Let the State Police Chief (SPC) tell me," Justice Ramachandran said.
"The DGP has to tell me whether he trusts the police under his command to carry out a proper investigation. The SPC has to inform the court whether an investigation would be apposite by an agency in Kerala when allegations have been made against police officers of several ranks," the court said. It said that it was indicating its prima facie view as it was interested in ensuring a proper probe.
Referring to news reports on the police protection, the court asked how such a decision was taken, "Instead of taking him into custody". "How did the police and the intelligence not see what he was up to? How was he allowed to operate? How no suspicions were raised regarding him," were the other queries posed by the court.
The court directed that the police chief has to file a detailed counter affidavit touching all the points raised by the court and the investigation carried out so far on complaints against Mavunkal. The court further said that when someone is given police protection, he acquires a certain status and credibility in society and people tend to trust such persons as a result.
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The court was hearing a plea by Monson's former driver-cum-mechanic Ajith EV, alleging harassment by his former employer and some police officers close to Monson. In his petition, filed through advocates Philip T Varghese and Thomas T Varghese, the driver has alleged that Mavunkal threatened to implicate him in criminal cases and get him put behind bars. The court on September 30 had ordered police protection for Ajith. He has alleged that after he made the disclosures in the criminal case against Monson, the Circle Inspector of Cherthala and the Station House Officer of Ernakulam Town North Police Station both summoned him to their offices the same day and threatened him with dire consequences if he failed to appear before them.
He has claimed, in his petition, that he had informed the District Police Chief of Alappuzha and the Commissioner of Police, Ernakulam about the alleged harassment, but no action was taken against the two officers. He has said that the disclosures he made to the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Alappuzha, were in connection with a cheating complaint made against Mavunkal by Rajendran Pillai of Sreevalsam Group of Companies alleging that the dealer had cheated him of Rs 6 crore.
Cherthala native Mavunkal, who claims to be in possession of rare and historic antiques, was arrested by the district Crime Branch which has been probing complaints against the dealer of having swindled Rs 10 crore from several people.