Enforcement Directorate Challenges Closure in Lottery Scam Case

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In Chennai, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken a significant step by approaching the Madras High Court, contesting the closure order related to a case registered in 2012. This case starts from the discovery of 7 crore in cash during an investigation involving a close associate of lottery baron Santiago Martin. The plea, upon admission, prompted a directive from a division bench consisting of Justice S S Sundar and Justice Sunder Mohan. They’ve called upon the state police and Martin himself to respond to this legal challenge.

As reported by, The Times of India, the issue traces back to a raid conducted by Chennai police at the residence of M Nagarajan, a trusted associate of Martin. During this raid, a substantial sum of 7.2 crore in cash was confiscated. It was uncovered that Nagarajan had a longstanding involvement with lottery companies since 1981, eventually establishing his own lottery enterprise. Nagarajan admitted that the cash was the sale proceeds of lottery tickets illegally printed and sold by Martin across Tamil Nadu.

Further examination exposed an unregistered sales agreement dated March 1, 2012, indicating that Martin and his wife had paid this sum to Nagarajan in cash as an advance sale consideration. However, investigations uncovered a significant discrepancy—the stamp paper used for this agreement was only procured from the treasury on March 9, 2012. This glaring inconsistency pointed to the fabrication of false evidence, suggesting an attempt to mislead authorities regarding the source of the seized cash.

The Supreme Court, acknowledging the presence of a prima facie case warranting investigation, upheld the significance of the matter. Additionally, the ED had also registered the case against the accused for the proceeds of crime arising out of the crime. Despite these developments, the state police filed a closure report, asserting the absence of substantial evidence to pursue the case. This closure report, accepted by the magistrate, has drawn allegations of abrupt termination of due legal process by the ED.