Lady Luck must be partial to people in a particular locality in Maharashtra, who regularly claim to win prizes in the Kerala lottery. Otherwise, how can a single notary from there attest identity-proof documents of a large number of winners, 29 to be precise? If not Lady Luck, this must be the work of fraudsters and money launderers.
That is the finding of the ongoing Crime Branch investigation into the credentials of Kerala lottery winners from other states.
Sources told Express that the investigating officers have got vital leads on money launderers involved in a large number of claims from other states.
The state government had referred around 118 claims from residents of other states to the Crime Branch after the Lottery Department raised doubts over the genuineness of the claims. Of this, 69 persons have been given prizes and 49 claims withheld by the department.
The Crime Branch team, in its interim report submitted to the state government, says that identity-proof documents of a large number of winners were attested by a single notary.
“N R Gupta, an advocate and notary hailing from Maharashtra, has certified 29 claims which is quite incomprehensible. The investigating team is now digging up the leads to identify the real beneficiaries,’’ said an official.
The Crime Branch has sought more time as the investigation should be extended to other states, mainly to Maharashtra.
Lotteries Director Biju Prabhakar said that the department would write to the government to formulate clear guidelines to prevent fraud.
“A proposal will be submitted to the government to allow only genuine persons to claim prizes. We do not want the opportunities of the people of the state robbed off by fraudsters from other states,’’ he said.