CPM is getting ready to welcome Santiago Martin: KPCC president K Sudhakaran

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KPCC president K Sudhakaran recently commented on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) freezing assets worth Rs 457 crore from Santiago Martin residential and business premises, saying it was hard-earned money of the people of Kerala.

Sudhakaran further accused CPM of helping Martin to make profits and settle in Chennai. He said that Martin donated Rs two crore to Deshabhimani, which secured the telecast of his Sikkim Lottery on the local state channel Kairali.

CPM is looking at the court decision from 2021 favouring private lottery companies to conduct business in Kerala with sharp eyes and is ready to welcome Martin back in Kerala with a red carpet, Sudhakaran believes.

Sudhakaran believes with private lottery operators entering the market, the state-run lottery business will run into the ground. While many who depend on selling lottery tickets for a living may lose their jobs, agents will need to find alternative employment.

“It was former CM Oomen Chandy who revitalized the Karunya lottery scheme. From the profit acquired, Karunya medicines and shops started all over the state and still continue a profitable run serving ordinary people. While the UDF worked with the project to help the ordinary people in Kerala, the LDF is trying to curry favour, Santiago Martin, ditching normal people of the state,” Sudhakaran said.

It is important to note that ED is currently investigating Santiago Martin and some of his family members under allegations of money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

The most recent investigation was carried out on the basis of a report by CBI claiming that Martin sold lotteries of the Government of Sikkim in Kerala to make huge profit margins while the Sikkim government faced losses of Rs 910 Crore through inflated ticket prices.