Kerala Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac on Friday said the sale of Mizoram lottery tickets was illegal in the state and that the government would be investigating to determine who was behind the sale.

The New Indian Express reports that Isaac told reporters in Kerala, “Selling of lottery tickets of Mizoram in the state is illegal and it is without getting the state’s permission.” He alleged that “The lottery (tickets) coming into the state is not the Mizoram lottery, but tickets of lottery king Santiago Martin,” according to the news agency.

Mizoram, one of the states of Northeast India, had reportedly written to the government in October 2016 requesting permission to sell lottery tickets. Isaac said they responded by citing gross violations conducted by the state in the past and requested further details. He said Mizoram never responded to that request. Isaac said that the Mizoram Lotteries advertisement that appeared in the newspaper on Thursday again raised the government’s suspicion regarding the lotteries.

According to the news agency, the advertisement for the lotteries stated that 53.17 percent of the proceeds of the sales will be distributed as prizes. And that 5.31 percent would be received as agents’ commission and the goods and service’s tax (GST) is 28 percent. Isaac said that after accounting for other costs such as printing expenses and discounts, the total cost would exceed that of the sales proceeds. He said, “If it has to be viable, either they have to evade tax or manipulate prizes.”

Isaac went on to say that state lottery tickets can only be sold in adherence with the rules and that GST department officials will seize illegal tickets. He further stated that other state lottery tickets would not be allowed to be sold by agents of state lotteries. He reportedly urged people to refrain from encouraging lotteries from other states.

According to The New Indian Express, Isaac said he suspects it is a conspiracy involving controversial lottery baron Santiago Martin’s reentry into the state.

Isaac said he suspects it to be a conspiracy by controversial lottery baron Santiago Martin attempting re-entry to the state. He said, “It is learnt that some state lottery agents attended a secret meeting convened by Martin recently. Those cooperating with Martin will face strict action by State Lotteries department, including agency cancellation.”

Martin reportedly faces around 32 cases of lottery fraud in Kerala.

Kerala finance minister declares Mizoram lottery sales illegal was last modified: July 31st, 2017 by K Morrison