The Kerala government on Wednesday suspended Inspector General of Police G Lakshmana for his alleged close links with fake antique dealer Monson Mavunkal. Lakshmana is the first head to roll in the case. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday put his signature on Lakshmana's suspension note for his alleged close links with Mavunkal, who is currently in judicial custody.
Lakshmana, presently heading Traffic Department, was all set to be promoted to the rank of Additional Director General of Police in January and after this action it is unlikely that he will be promoted. Ever since the 54-year-old Mavunkal was arrested by the Crime Branch from his home-cum-'museum' at Kochi in September after victims approached Vijayan with their complaints that they were swindled of Rs 10 crore by this "master fraud," the name of Lakshmana and his alleged close links surfaced.
What added to the problems of the Kerala Police were the tough questions posed by the Kerala High Court when a case regarding Mavunkal came before it. The court came down heavily upon the police on the progress of the probe.
When the case first surfaced in September, pictures of recently retired state police chief Loknath Behra and serving Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham visiting the "museum" of Mavunkal at Kochi went viral.
The court asked how come these top police officials never thought of how a museum like this can function as the rules are very clear and it also pointed out how come the police set up a daily beatbox at his house and the museum.
Soon the probe went into top gear and took statements from Behra, Abraham and Lakshmana and it was based on this statement that Vijayan put his signature and the top official has now been suspended.
Mavunkal took all his high profile guests into his fold by showcasing antiques in his collection which he claimed included the "staff of Moses" and "two of the 30 silver coins that were taken by Judas to cheat Jesus Christ."
Police said that he also displayed a throne said to be used by Tipu Sultan, as well as a huge collection of old Qurans, Bibles (Old Testament and New Testament), and old handwritten copies of Bhagavad Gita.
Mavunkal used to bring several VIPs to his palatial residence, a part of which was converted into a museum to house his 'precious' antiques.