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Lottery businessman Martin who hails from Coimbatore, has astonished people by donating a humongous fund of 5 Crores to Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami, towards the Gaja cyclone relief fund. The fund was handed over to the CM in person by Martin's wife Mrs. Leema Rose Martin, son Mr. Charles Martin and daughter-in-law, Sindhu Charles.
Santiago Martin, aged 58, was born in a family based in Ramanathapuram district in southern TN. He was forced to discontinue his studies at the age of 12 due to poverty and went to work at his father's tea shop in Coimbatore.
After some years, Martin started a small lottery shop near the Coimbatore bus stand. Slowly and steadily, he transformed that shop into a giant business and established himself as one of the leading businessmen in the lottery segment at a pan-India level. He would later come to be known as the "lottery king" of India.
He drew attention in 2004 when he paid an income tax of 50 Crores which was the highest in the country. This made him hit several headlines. He shifted his base to North India to continue his business when the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had banned lottery business in the state.
Martin was successful in his business in the northern part of India as well and had even expanded into multiple businesses by establishing Martin Homeopathy Hospital, Arise Steel Mill and Martin Spinning Mills. He is presently the head of Martin's group of companies which offers employment to over 5,000 people
His proximity with DMK patriarch, M Karunanidhi, had resulted in his arrest by the Jayalalitha government. Though multiple cases were registered against Martin, his businesses continued to thrive.
Though Martin is associated with the controversial lottery business, he has an inclination to make hefty contributions to the people affected by natural disasters. He had provided relief materials worth 2 crore rupees during Chennai floods in 2015. He had also distributed 50 Lakhs worth relief materials and made a donation of 25 Lakhs during the recent Kerala floods.
And now, in addition to donating a huge sum of 5 Crores to the CM relief fund for Gaja cyclone victims affected in the delta region, he has also distributed relief materials worth 3 Crores to the affected people and thus, taking the overall tally to a whopping 8 Crores. It is said that he is the highest individual contributor in support of the Gaja affected people so far.