'Antique' dealer dupes five of Rs 10 crore, held

Monson claimed to be a world-famous collector of relics; raid reveals items were made by carpenter in Alappuzha

Published: 27th September 2021 01:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2021 01:41 AM   |  A+A-

Handcuffs, Arrest

For representational purposes. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: A Kochi-based antique dealer was arrested by the Crime Branch on Sunday for allegedly swindling nearly Rs 10 crore from several persons.  A raid on his house, which also doubled up as the antique collection centre at Vyloppilly Lane on Azad Road at Kaloor, here also revealed that many of the “antique” items he possessed were actually made by a carpenter in Alappuzha.

Cherthala native Monson Mavunkal, 52, who claimed to be a world-famous private antique collector and cosmetologist, was taken into custody. The Crime Branch said Monson had claimed that he had received about Rs 2.62 lakh crore from abroad for selling some antique materials. He had said he could not withdraw the amount as the RBI had blocked his savings account owing to some technical glitches. 

Claiming that he also had to pay some money as penalty, Monson had collected around Rs 10 crore from five persons. The fraud came to light when lenders sought their money back. Monson started making excuses like he had contacted the secretary of the Prime Minister and the money would be released soon. 
When he did not return the money after several days, the lenders approached the police, said a Crime Branch official.

The investigation revealed that Monson operated the fraud by forging a document in the name of a foreign bank. In fact, there was no such account in his name, said the official. His house was then raided. 
On his website (, Monson had claimed that he was in possession of several hand-picked pieces representing the art, heritage, history and cultures of India and abroad. One such item was the throne of Tipu Sultan. 

However, the Crime Branch found that most of the items were made by a carpenter based in Cherthala, Alappuzha. The veracity of the antique items are yet to be ascertained, police said. “He was then arrested for financial fraud. A detailed investigation is under way,” said Crime Branch SP M J Sojan who is heading the investigation. Monson was produced before a magistrate and sent to judicial custody.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp