Chennai, Oct 13: A lottery without a prize. Yes that is what the Santiago Martin empire was all about.
The raids that were recently conducted in West Bengal led to the seizure of several crores of rupees and the trail led up to Tamil Nadu where lottery kingpin Martin operates out of.
Slueths of the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department which are leading the probe have found shocking details on how these kingpins duped lakhs of gullible people across states in a bid to rake up crores of rupees.
A lottery without a prize:
Prior to the ban on lottery in various states, the gang led by Martin would pick up unsold tickets from the state run lottery department. Hand in glove with some government officials, they would decide on the number which would win the prize.
The kingpin would make sure that the prize winning number would be part of the heap of unsold tickets. In this way the kingpin and his associates would always pick up the bumper prize.
Following the lottery ban, the scam turned from bad to worse. The recent raids found that there was a printing press that was set up in Siliguri, West Bengal where the tickets were printed.
Lakhs of tickets were printed everyday and circulated in states such as Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Most of the tickets that were printed were on the Rs 10 denomination as only this would sell out. Tickets would be purchased by gullible customers rapidly.
However, according to the confession of Matin's aid, Nagarajan, none have till date won a prize. This is because there was no prize. They would instead put out fake information about a person winning the prize.
Through the sale of tickets the lottery kingpin would make several lakhs of rupees on a daily basis. Nagarajan also revealed that on festive ocassions, tickets of the Rs 100 denomination would be printed.
While the modus operandi has become clear, the sleuths are now looking into the money trail.
It has been found that the money would be parked in West Bengal and then moved abroad through a channel in Bangladesh.