Tale of deception triggers political face-off

Sudhakaran, Baby trade charges over former’s association with Monson

The associations of alleged fake antique dealer and suspected confidence trickster Monson Mavunkal are becoming more apparent as the investigation progresses.

At a stroke, the tale of deception has captured the public’s imagination and triggered a fresh round of skirmishing between politicians.

KPCC president K. Sudhakaran had said on Tuesday that he had consulted Monson as a stylist and was not a party to his questionable transactions.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby leaned on the admission to attack Mr. Sudhakaran on Wednesday for the latter’s singular “lack of scientific temper.”

In a social media post, Mr. Baby said it was surprising that Mr. Sudhakaran had not felt a shred of doubt about Monson’s credentials.

Mr. Sudhakaran replied that the Congress was fast gathering organisational strength under the current disposition. The CPI(M) was unnerved and had sought to use the Monson episode to denigrate the leadership.

BJP leader B. Gopalakrishnan said the LDF government had accorded Monson police protection. Ranking officers regularly intervened for Monson in crime cases. He demanded a Central probe.

Monson, who is facing multiple accusations of fraud, had strived to attract a galaxy of rich and powerful persons into his orbit with mixed success.

He posed as a man of many parts – a German-trained cosmetologist, antique collector, hoarder of esoteric sacred objects, amateur archaeologist, vlogger, lobbyist, and an international business person. Few seemed aware of his “chequered past.”

Monson had posted pictures of himself with leaders and celebrities on social media and often dropped their names to create an impression.

Illustratively, he claimed to be close to Minister for Ports, Museums and Archaeology Ahammad Devarkovil, Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine, Congress leader and MP Hiby Eden, former State Police Chief Loknath Behera, and actor Mohan Lal.

The police said the personages had no role in Monson’s financial transactions. Most had met Monson briefly in their line of public duty. Monson, a selfie enthusiast, had published their pictures without consent to build his profile as an influential socialite. He had used his private museum as a lure to host local noteworthies. Monson’s skill as a “stylist” also helped.

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