Self-proclaimed antique collector and YouTuber Monson Mavunkal, who established a museum in Kochi, was arrested on Sunday, September 26 by the Kerala crime branch for allegedly swindling money. Police alleged that Monson took money from many lenders, claiming that he had sold his antiques abroad for Rs 24 crore and that the money was not transferred to his Indian account due to some technical issues. Police said that he convinced lenders by showing a fake deposit certificate. However, police found that he did not have a bank account abroad as claimed by him.
Reports suggest that Monson had promised lenders a partnership in a huge archeological museum that he was going to start in Kochi. Though there were complaints against him for selling fake antiques, nobody has filed an official police complaint yet. However, police said that he gave some of the antiques to influential people free of cost and later collected a huge amount of money offering a partnership in the museum. Police found that he was selling cheap handmade products to many people, including celebrities, claiming that they were authentic antiques.
In his YouTube videos, Monson had claimed that he possesses the throne of Tipu Sultan and the silver coins that Judas Iscariot had received for betraying Jesus Christ. He also claimed that he owned the staff of Moses, books from the libraries of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji and so on. Monson, who is also popular in celebrity circles, appeared in the media on several occasions after he built a museum at his house in Kochi. He had claimed that he is a German-trained cosmetologist and a member of the World Peace Council.
According to the police, Monson gave a statement denying the charges against him, claiming that he had informed his customers that the products he sold were replicas and not original. Police found that many of the products that were sold by Monson were made by handicraft makers in Cherthala.