Kerala: Controversial antiques dealer Monson Mavunkal sentenced to life for raping minor

Additional District and Sessions Court has found Mavunkal guilty in a POCSO case for repeatedly raping a 17-year-old girl.

BySreerag PS

Published Jun 17, 2023 | 2:15 PMUpdatedJun 17, 2023 | 3:42 PM

Kerala: Controversial antiques dealer Monson Mavunkal sentenced to life for raping minor

A POCSO court in Kerala on Saturday, 17 June, sentenced controversial self-styled antique dealer Monson Mavunkal to life imprisonment for repeatedly raping a 17-year-old girl.

The Additional District and Sessions Court (POCSO) in Ernakulam also slapped a fine of ₹5.25 lakh on the Cherthala native.

A separate case against Mavunkal for raping the same individual after she had attained adulthood is under trial.

The POCSO case dates back to 2019 when Mavunkal promised his maid’s daughter he would fund her higher education and raped the girl on several occasions at his rented residence in Ernakulam.

Judge K Soman found Mavunkal guilty on Friday, 16 June, before awarding his imprisonment for the rest of his life.

He was booked under IPC sections 376(2)(n) (commits rape repeatedly on the same woman) and 376(2)(f) (being a relative, guardian, or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman, commits rape on such woman).

He was also given rigorous imprisonment for life under various sections of the POCSO Act.

Several women had accused Mavunkal of sexually assaulting them. The Kerala High Court, in July 2022, dismissed Mavunkal’s bail petition, citing the accused may influence the victims if released.

Last year the Supreme Court, too, had denied him bail, stating that the allegations were serious in nature.

Related: KPCC chief Sudhakaran seeks bail in fraud case involving Mavunkal

Controversial conman

Mavunkal, who claimed to have rare and historic antiques, was arrested by the Alappuzha crime branch police on 25 September, 2021. He has been accused of cheating several people to the tune of ₹10 crore. He has been in jail since his arrest.

Mavunkal, 53, pretended to be a multi-talented personality, playing roles such as a public speaker, doctor, cosmetologist, art promoter, and antique collector.

His ability to pass off an ordinary walking stick as the staff of Moses and small earthen pots made on the outskirts of Kochi as Lord Krishna’s favourite dahi handis are now part of contemporary folklore.

The quack-cum-antique dealer even sold a decorated chair as the throne of Tipu Sultan.

Also read: Opposition leader Satheesan taunts Vijayan with ‘scared’ remark

Case against K Sudhakaran

Recently, Mavunkal gained public attention after the police named the KPCC president as the second accused in a cheating case. Mavunkal is the first accused.

Sudhakaran, a Congress strongman from North Kerala who represents the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency, repeatedly admitted that he had met Mavunkal on seven different occasions to treat his skin disease, believing in the latter’s claimed capabilities as a dermatologist.

Adding to the worries of Sudhakaran, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Union government has also started proceedings to investigate the case.

“I have already made it clear that I have absolutely no role in this cheating case involving Monson. I am sticking to that same stand,” Sudhakaran said when contacted by South First.

He accused the chief minister of trying to silence the Opposition by trapping Satheesan and him in cases.

While he didn’t take names, Sudhakaran was referring to former DGP Loknath Behera, now in a post-retirement assignment as managing director of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd.

Mavunkal has been maintaining that Sudhakaran was not involved in any of the cases.

(With PTI inputs)