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Kerala Police to arrest ‘lottery king’ soon

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 22 (IANS) Lottery king Santiago Martin and his associate John Kennedy will soon be arrested after a court asked the Kerala Police to register a case of cheating against them, a senior police official said Monday.

Speaking to reporters here after the first meeting of the recently constituted Lottery Monitoring Cell, Additional Director General of Police Siby Mathews said they are getting ready to arrest the duo.

‘Evidence is being collected and once it is done, the arrests would be made,’ said Mathews.

Early this month, Thiruvananthapuram first class magistrate A.M. Basheer asked the Fort police to register a case against Martin, Kennedy and the local lottery agent, following a complaint made by Isahak, who purchased tickets of Bhutan Lottery Aug 30, but found they did not have the date of the draw.

Martin is the official wholesaler of Bhutan Lottery and Kennedy, an official of Megha Distributors, the agent for Bhutan Lottery in Kerala.

The court’s direction came after it saw that the Bhutan Lottery ticket neither had the secret code nor the official seal, apart from the absence of the draw date.

This is the first-ever police case registered against Martin in Kerala.

The opposition Congress in the state has been alleging the Left Democratic Front government’s links with the ‘lottery mafia’ headed by Martin.

Martin faced tough questions a few years back after it was known that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) newspaper ‘Deshabhimani’ had accepted a fixed deposit from the lottery wholesaler.

Following a public outcry, the CPI-M took action against an official in the paper and also returned the money to Martin.

The Congress, too, faced flak in September when its national spokesperson and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared in the Kerala High Court as counsel for Bhutan Lottery in a case against the Kerala government over tax issues.

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