Kochi: Most of the so-called antiques kept for display at the museum at the Kaloor house of Monson Mavunkal, the accused in the multi-crore cheating case that has hit the headlines in Kerala, were just cinema props.
Ajith alias Aji, who is Monson's former driver and helper, claimed about 75 per cent of the artefacts on display were delivered by a person named Santhosh who supplies properties to film sets on demand.
The aide, who fell out with Monson recently, said that other antiques were also procured from within Kerala by Monson. Not a single piece was brought from abroad.
According to Ajith, many tourists, including Arabs, used to frequently visit the museum of Monson. But no sales took off as the antiques were all fake.
Close ties with Monson since 2010
Ajith had been the driver and mechanic of Monson since 2010. But they fell out when Monson, without the knowledge of Aji, used his bank account to dupe the Pandalam-based Sreevalsam Group of crores of rupees.
The address and the mobile number given in the bank account of Ajith was that of Monson. The ATM card and cheque books issued under the bank account were in the hands of Monson. Ajith came to know about the transaction of crores of rupees through his bank account when the Crime Branch called him for questioning.
Beginning of a bitter rivalry
Once they fell out, both of them turned bitter rivals and it all ended up in a slew of police cases. Monson filed a complaint before Cherthala and Ernakulam North police stations, alleging that Ajith was threatening him.
Ajith, in turn, gave a memorandum to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleging that Monson was trying to harass using police force. According to Ajith, the Alappuzha Crime Branch conducted an inquiry regarding the complaint.
When Ajith took up the job of the driver, Monson was staying in Cherthala. Later, Monson shifted to Thevara and Kaloor in Ernakulam. In the beginning, Monson had only two employees, but the numbers shot up in the last four or five years.
Ajith alleged that Monson had fleeced crores of rupees from a resident of Bangalore whom he had introduced to Monson.
Monson was staying in Idukki 20 years ago. There he was engaged in supplying electronic goods from Kochi to various parts of Tamil Nadu, he added.
The collection of fake antiques Monson has includes 'Thaliyola' (palm-leaf manuscript) of Lord Ganapati and great Malayalam poet Thunjath Ezhuthachan, Lord Krishna's 'Venna Kudam' (butter pot), the Staff of Moses, Judas's Silver Pieces, the Seamless Robe of Jesus and Stoneware by which Jesus did the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana.
As reported earlier Monson allegedly conned several people of crores of rupees. People who lend him money failed to get their money back despite repeated attempts. After they met the Kerala chief minister with a complaint, the Crime Branch took Monson into custody on Saturday.