Thrissur, May 11: Eminent novelist, actor and screenplay writer Madampu Sankaran Namboodiri alias Madampu Kunjukuttan, who had been under treatment for COVID-19, succumbed to the viral infection at a private hospital here on Tuesday.

He was 81.

He was admitted to the hospital following fever and breathing difficulties and tested positive for the virus recently, hospital sources said.

Kunjukuttan, fondly called as Madampu by his admirers in the literary and film world, had over 10 novels and five screenplays to his credit.

As an actor, he was known for his roles in the movies like "Paithrikam", "Vadakkunnathan", "Karunam", "Deshadanam", "Aaramthampuram" and so on.

He penned screenplays for critically acclaimed movies such as "Gourisankaram", "Deshadannam", "karunam" and "Makalkku".

Hailing from a traditional Namboodiri family in Kiraloor in Thirssur district,Madampu Kunjukuttan was generally considered as a person and writer who stood for reformation in his community.

His well-known book, 'Bhrashtu", which won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for the best novel in 1983, revolves around the real story of Kuriyedathu Thathri, who fought against the patriarchy and rigid and conventional norms in the community.

His other literary works include "Ashwathamavu", "Mahaprasthanam", "Nishdam", "Aryavartham" (all novels) and so on.

Kunjukuttan won the national award for his screenplay for the Jayaraj-directed movie "Karunam" in the year 2000.

A scholar in Vedas, Sansrit, Indian philosophy and Mathanga Leela (Elephant Science), Kunjukuttan was also known for his fascination for elephants.

He unsuccessfully contested from Kodungallur as a BJP candidate in 2001 assembly elections.

Several persons from various walks of life including Governor Arif Mohammed Khan condoled the death of Madampu Kunjukuttan.

"RIP! Folded hands #MadambuKunjukuttan Sir.

PS: Social media timelines are beginning to look like obituary columns. Prayers for the departed and their families.. and hope that times change for the better soon (sic)," actor Prithviraj Sukumaran tweeted.

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Bengaluru, Jun 12: Karnataka police on Saturday said they have busted a Rs 290 crore plus scam that involved duping people through a mobile app after promising attractive interest on investment and two Chinese nationals were among the nine arrested.

The scam, aided by shell companies, is linked to money laundering and the suspected kingpin is a Kerala based business man with proximity to Chinese 'hawala' operators, they said.

Cyber Crime Division of CID said it has arrested accused persons, including two Chinese nationals, two Tibetans and five others acting as directors of the companies involved, and a search is on for the rest.

A complaint from Razor pay Software Private Limited said accused persons availed 'payment solutions' from them, claiming that they are in gaming, social and e-commerce businesses.

They, however, defrauded the company by using computer resources and by deviating from their original, registered line of business, the plaint said.

They started routing their transactions to collect payments from a different business named "Powerbank", an app listed in Google Playstore, cyber police said in a release.

Through customer complaints, the complainant company got to know that public invested money in the "Powerbank" app to earn interest on the invested amount.

The accused persons, after accepting the investments, neither gave the agreed interest nor the principal amount and cheated customers.

A case was registered under the Information Technology Act and 420 IPC (Cheating), the CCD said and added that the investigating team were successful in arresting nine men.

During investigation, it was found that Anas Ahmed, a Kerala based businessman, is the main person involved.

"We have also identified that he has very proximate connections with the Chinese hawala operators, which has come to light during the course of the investigation.

He had opened shell companies in the name of Bull Finch Technologies, H & S ventures and Clifford ventures to route the fraud money. Anas Ahamed is married to Chinese national and incidentally he did his studies in China," police said in the release.

Online applications hosted by him were later camouflaged and converted into different apps including Power Bank application, seeking investment from the public and promising good returns, the CCD said.

An unusual spike was seen in investments on the day Anees Ahmed announced much higher returns.

Subsequently, such apps were removed from Google Playstore and other websites and he absconded with the money.

Investigation showed Rs 290 crore inflow into his bank accounts and the CCD was successful in freezing a significant portion of it. There was a huge spike in opening of shell companies since November 2020.

"We have also observed that the Chinese handlers are in possession of a huge number of shell companies and bank accounts. Lured by the offer of the Chinese nationals, many innocent Indians and Tibetans have fallen in their trap to open shell companies and open bank accounts for them."