Two key points have emerged following the mammoth raid at West Bengal in which Rs 70 crore in cash was seized. While this money is directly linked to the lottery scam, the officials are also checking the extent of the role played by the underworld.
The arrest of S Nagarajan a close aide of lottery scam mastermind has revealed the extent of this scam and how he had taken up several houses both in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu to stock up lottery tickets.
The extent of the scam is evident in the number of houses that the accused persons had taken up in several states to stock and sell lottery tickets illegally.
A Rs 4,500 crore scam
The investigations and the subsequent questioning of Nagarajan has revealed that the scam is easily worth around Rs 4,500 crore. Further it has also been discovered by investigators that entire scam is being controlled by Santiago Martin a Tamil Nadu based operative.
The kingpins had taken on rent houses only in posh localities as it would skip the eye of the investigators, an official part of the probe informed OneIndia.
The investigators have learnt that the lottery kingpins had several fake passports on them and had frequently visited countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The money that was generated from the lottery scam was parked in Saudi Arabia and UAE with the help of middlemen in West Bengal.
The IT department sleuths along with the Enforcement Directorate during a raid had found several sacks of cash amounting to Rs 70 crore. Officials have information of Rs 30 crore more and raids will be conducted before the same is seized.
Who is Santiago Martin?
Santiago Martin is a resident of Coimbatore. Lottery Martin as he is popularly known used to reside at the 6th cross in Gandhinagaram, Coimbatore before he moved to Thudiyalur. His empire was so vast that several persons had claimed that he owned property worth Rs 2000 crore. He was even arrested in connection with a land grabbing case in the year 2011.
When the police in Coimbatore busted the lottery scam for the first time in 2007, the probe revealed that it had its ramifications in other states such as Karnataka and also the North Eastern states as well. The police had revealed at that time that Martin was running a Rs 7000 crore empire at that time.
Traces of the scam were found in Ramanagar in Karnataka as well and there have been allegations that the matter was never probed properly.
Investigators who had probed the Martin case say that he had risen from rags to riches in quick time. With the kind of financial clout he had due to his thriving lottery business, he managed to make the right friends both in the police and the political circles as well.
It was found that Martin began operating the illegal lottery business in the year 2003 when Tamil Nadu first banned lottery.
He gradually moved into the states of Karnataka and Kerala as well and in no time he had built up an empire that spread right up to the North East and West Bengal.