Supreme Court pauses trial in money laundering case against lottery king Santiago Martin

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The Supreme Court today stayed the trial proceedings in a money laundering case filed against lottery tycoon Santiago Martin under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court at Ernakulam, Kerala. Martin is recently in the news for being the largest purchaser of electoral bonds through his entity Future Gaming donating primarily to West Bengal ruling TMC and Tamil Nadu ruling DMK

A bench of Justices AS Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan today asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to respond to the plea filed by Martin seeking stay on the PMLA case until trial proceedings in another CBI case registered against him is complete as per a report by Bar & Bench.

Senior Advocate Aditya Sondhi along with Advocate Rohini Musa represented Martin. Popularly known as Lottery King, he has been accused of being involved in a lottery scam, which is reportedly linked to distribution of lottery tickets of the Sikkim government in Kerala.

The ED had booked him in a money laundering case based on a chargesheet filed by the Kochi office of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in which he was charged with certain provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998.

He was accused of causing an approximate loss of over INR 900 crores to the Sikkim government as per a report by ThePrint.

This present application was later transferred to Special Court, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam.

Martin’s plea to halt the PMLA trial against him was dismissed last month by a Special PMLA Court at Ernakulam.

The trial court had opined that the CBI and ED cases were separate and that the trial court did not have the power to stay the trial as sought for by Martin.Therefore, Martin approached the apex court with the current plea for relief.