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‘Rigged’, says BJP after the wife of TMC MLA hits Rs 1 crore jackpot in lottery 

In August, Jorasanko MLA Vivek Gupta’s wife won lottery run by Dear Lottery, organised by govts of Sikkim and Nagaland. The lottery is currently facing ED’s money-laundering probe.

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Kolkata:  A lottery win of Rs 1 crore by the wife of a Trinamool Congress legislator has led to a political slugfest in West Bengal, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party accusing the ruling TMC of rigging the lottery to ensure that its leaders win frequently. 

On 31 August, Ruchika Gupta, wife of Jorasanko Member of Legislative Assembly Vivek Gupta, hit a jackpot of Rs 1 crore in a weekly lottery run by M/s. Future Gaming & Hotel Services Pvt. Ltd — known popularly as “Dear Lottery”.

The development has prompted opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, a BJP legislator from Nandigram, to take to Twitter to attack the ruling TMC. 

“Poor people of West Bengal are being lured by the prospect of winning easy money and are becoming addicted and corrupt TMC leaders are gaining at their expense,” Adhikari said in a tweet Wednesday. 

Speaking to ThePrint, Gupta said that the BJP was “making a mountain out of a molehill”. 

“These lottery agents come to our offices for advertisements and urge us to buy tickets. So, we usually get these six rupees tickets. My wife won a lottery in August, but it was an inauspicious day according to the lunar calendar, so we didn’t even celebrate,” he told ThePrint. 

Gupta isn’t the only one who’s won a jackpot through this lottery in the past year. Anubrata Mondal, a TMC strongman and the head of the party’s Birbhum district unit, won Rs 1 crore in December 2021.

He was arrested in August by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of cattle smuggling and is currently in jail.

In another instance, Neru Singh, the sister-in-law of TMC’s Nalhati MLA Rajendra Prasad Singh, also won Rs 1 crore in July this year. 

Rajendra Singh’s brother Rakesh Singh is also a Trinamool leader in Nalhati. 

Incidentally, the Enforcement Directorate has been investigating Dear Lottery — organised by the state governments of Sikkim and Nagaland — for money laundering. In April this year, the Enforcement Directorate provisionally attached the company’s movable assets worth Rs 409.22 crore.

The ED accused the company running the lottery of allegedly “retaining unsold lottery tickets and claiming top prizes on such unsold tickets in the pre-GST period up to 2017”. 

The latest faceoff between the BJP and TMC comes at a time when the Trinamool is grappling with allegations against its senior leaders in two multi-crore corruption cases — an alleged cattle smuggling racket and an alleged school recruitment scam.

Both are currently being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED.

Also Read: After Jawhar Sircar slams ‘corruption’ in TMC, fellow MP Saugata Roy says he should resign

‘Lotteries are central govt’s domain’

In another tweet Wednesday, Adhikari said he’d written to  Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah in November 2021 about a nexus between Dear Lottery and the Trinamool Congress. 

“The lottery company is now hand in gloves with the TMC and both are minting cash amounting to crores generated due to unregulated devious methods. The lucky winners seem to be the lottery company and TMC party,” he wrote in his tweet. 

The Trinamool Congress was quick to dismiss the allegations. “Lotteries are regulated by the Centre, the state cannot override those rules but only add rules to ensure free and fair play. If there is foul play, the BJP leader should ask his central government about it,” Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh told ThePrint. “And if he’s unhappy that people are winning one crore, he should himself buy a ticket.”

 Asked why the issue surfaced two months after his wife won the lottery, Gupta said “there are 5000 [lottery] winners so the BJP should go check their identity as well”. 

“My wife is a private citizen, and this is a regulated lottery. I’m ready for any kind of investigation. The BJP is losing ground in Bengal and purposely attacking the Trinamool,” he said.

ED investigates Dear Lottery

In its press statement in April 2022, the ED said the assets that it had attached were in the form of bank accounts and mutual fund holdings. 

The agency had launched an investigation into money laundry allegations on the basis of First Information Reports registered by Kolkata Police under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998. 

A source in the ED told ThePrint that “sale proceeds of lottery tickets have been illegally diverted towards gifts and incentives by modifying the prize structure of Lottery Schemes without any approval from the organising state governments”.

“In this manner, M/s Future Gaming and its sub-distributor companies illegally claimed around Rs 400 crore between 2014 and 2017. Entire proceeds of the crime have been identified and attached by ED,” the source said.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: ED arrests Mamata Banerjee close aide & Minister Partha Chatterjee in teacher recruitment scam


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