ED launches raids linked to suspected money laundering involving ‘lottery king’ Santiago Martin in Tamil Nadu

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has initiated searches in Tamil Nadu as part of an investigation into suspected money laundering associated with illegal sand mining activities, according to official sources.

The operation targets the premises of Aadhav Arjun, son-in-law of Santiago Martin, along with several others in Chennai and Coimbatore. Approximately 10 locations are under scrutiny in connection to the illegal sand mining case, being probed by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

As reported by Republic, Santiago Martin, renowned as the ‘lottery king’, and his enterprise, Future Gaming Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., have previously faced ED scrutiny in another money laundering inquiry related to the sale of Sikkim government lotteries. Martin, with close ties to the ruling DMK government, is under the radar of multiple central investigative agencies.

The recent appointment of Aadhav Arjun as the deputy general secretary of the Dalit political faction Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) has raised questions about his potential candidacy in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Arjun’s affiliation with VCK emerged during the ‘Vellum Sananayagam’ conference in Trichy last January.

The searches are focused on the properties of Aadhav Arjun alongside other locations in Chennai and Coimbatore, as per sources. Martin has previously faced ED investigation in another money laundering case stemming from a CBI probe against him and others for alleged involvement in the sale of Sikkim government lotteries.

The Kerala High Court had previously dismissed Martin’s petition against an ED order freezing his movable assets under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, citing an alleged loss of over Rs.900 crore to the Sikkim government from the illegal sale of its lotteries in Kerala.