The property attached includes flats, vacant plots and buildings in Coimbatore.

ED attaches property worth Rs 120 crore of Lottery Martin aides
news Crime Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 09:11

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached property worth Rs 119.6 crore of companies floated by ‘Lottery King’ Santiago Martin and his associates. The attachment comes on the money laundering probe being conducted by the ED authorities.

According to reports, the attached property includes 61 flats, six buildings and 82 vacant plots located in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. 

ED investigations allegedly revealed that Martin and his aides made an illegal gain of more than Rs 900 crore by inflating the claims of the prize winners in 2009-2010. The funds acquired from that were invested in property in the name of 40 companies, which were used to launder the proceeds of the crime.

The probe by ED is based on the charge sheets filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED is investigating Future Gaming Solutions (P) Ltd. (presently Future Gaming and Hotel Services (P) Ltd. and formerly Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd.), Martin’s company.

Santiago Martin was under the radar of law enforcement and investigation agencies for entering into an illegal agreement with officials of Sikkim government to avoid remitting the face value of the lottery tickets sold in Kerala. According to law, the face value of the Sikkim government lottery tickets sold must be deposited into the Sikkim government exchequer by the agent.

More than 30 cases were registered by the CBI in 2011 against Martin and his associates for cheating the Sikkim government. According to the charge sheet filed by the CBI, Martin had cheated the Sikkim government to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore by not depositing the face value of the lottery tickets in the exchequer from 2005. After its probe in 2014, the CBI claimed that the lottery scam engineered by Martin and his aides helped people who buy the tickets to convert their black money into white. This case is pending before the court, while Martin is out on bail. 

Known to side with those in power, Martin was close to the DMK in his initial years. In the run-up to the 2014 general elections, his wife was in Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK), a party founded by SRM Chairman TR Pachamuthu and also shared the dais with the then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a rally in Coimbatore. 

The couple’s son Jose Martin joined the BJP in 2015 in the presence of BJP leader Ram Madhav. He was recently in the news as one of his long-term employees, Palanisami, was found dead shortly after the Income Tax Dept searches on his property. His body was found floating in a pond in Karamadai, on the outskirts of Coimbatore, hours after he was grilled by the Income Tax officials in connection with the searches. 

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