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Kerala-based antique dealer Monson Mavunkal is now in judicial custody on charges of cheating.. Image Credit: Supplied

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: The Kerala government on Wednesday suspended Inspector-General of Police (IG) Lakshmana for his alleged links with fake antique dealer Monson Mavunkal.

According to the government sources, Lakshmana has been suspended from service for his connection with fake antique dealer Monson Mavunkal on the basis of an enquiry report conducted by the Crime Branch.

Earlier in September, YouTuber and Patron of Expatriates’ Association Monson Mavunkal was arrested by Crime Branch for allegedly swindling Rs4 crores [Rs40 million] from several people by claiming possession of centuries-old antiques, and providing fake documents.

He was arrested after victims approached the Chief Minister with their complaints that they have been swindled of Rs10 crores.

“He deceived the complainants by convincing them that Rs2,62,000 crore was credited to his bank account by selling antiquities and he needs Rs 10 crores to withdraw it. He assured them that if they give him money, he will give interest-free loans to them for starting a business,” stated the report submitted in the Ernakulam Court by Crime Branch.

Mavunkal used to bring people to his palatial residence, a part of which was converted into a museum to house his precious antiques.

As per the report, Mavunkal claimed that his precious antique collection includes a throne of Tipu Sultan, the first edition of the Holy Bible, the books used by Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji, the last Mughal emperor Aurangazeb and Mysore Sultan Tipu Sultan.

“Several holy books and documents such as a version of the great epic Mahabharata written in palm leaves, and the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Pablo Picasso are some of the items claimed to be in his possession,” stated the report.

“He had sold the antiquities claiming that it was not the original but a copy of it. Investigation revealed that these were made by a carpenter based in Cherthala at Alappuzha district,” it stated.

It has also been alleged that some pictures of the accused with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran, Congress leader Laly Vincent and former Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson are circulating on social media.