However, the state government said that ED's claim was not correct and the Crime Branch has and will respond to every request made by it as per the law.

A file photo of fake antique dealer Monson MavunkalWebsite/MonsonMavunkal
news Crime Thursday, December 23, 2021 - 16:23

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday, December 23, claimed in the Delhi High Court that the Crime Branch has not responded to its requests for information and certain documents in relation to the probe against self-styled antiques dealer Monson Mavunkal, an allegation which the latter denied. The Director General of Prosecution (DGP), appearing for the state and the police, told Justice Devan Ramachandran that ED's claim was not correct and the Crime Branch has and will respond to every request made by it as per the law.

The court also noted that it has not found any reason to suspect the ongoing probe against Mavunkal by the Crime Branch The DGP also told the court that the chargesheet has been filed in three out of the 12 cases against Mavunkal and the special team was "vigorously" investigating various issues including involvement of police officers and persons from outside India. He said that a report on these aspects will be filed soon.

The court, thereafter, said that along with the report, the Crime Branch can also make clear how it has responded to the ED requests for information and documents. It said that it was seeking all the information to see whether the investigations by the ED and Crime Branch was going on properly without any cover up and to ensure that probes by both agencies have "coalesced". "I am only seeking information. I have no complaint against the Crime Branch." the judge said.

The court was hearing a plea by Mavunkal's former driver-cum-mechanic, Ajith EV, alleging harassment by his former employer and some police officers close to him. Ajith, represented by advocates Philip T Varghese and Thomas T Varghese, had alleged that the harassment started after he made certain disclosures to police in connection with a cheating case against the self-styled antiques dealer.

Cherthala native Mavunkal, who claimed to be in possession of rare and historic antiques, was arrested by the district Crime Branch which has been investigating a cheating case of Rs 10 crore from different people. Mavunkal had apparently borrowed the amount from various people saying he was in need of funds to "clear procedures to obtain Rs 2,65,000 crore, a massive amount from his account in a foreign bank." Many photos of the accused with KPCC chief Sudhakaran, senior IPS officials, senior bureaucrats and many others were telecast in the mainstream media.

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