The investigation wing of the income tax department in Chennai conducted a series of searches in more than 70 premises belonging to Coimbatore based “lottery king” Martin Santiago and his associates under Section 132 IT ACT which began on30th April. Tax authorities also detained Martin for questioning at the Kolkata airport, while he was on his way to Chennai onthe same day. The IT officials have conducted searches in more than 22 premises in Coimbatore, 10 in Chennai, 18 in Kolkata, 5 in Mumbai, 3 in Delhi and 2 each in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Siliguri, Ranchi and Ludhiana.
Future Gaming Solutions Private Limited is the authorized marketing agent for lotteries for the Government of Nagaland and West Bengal State Lottery Stockists Syndicate Private Limited is the authorized marketing agent for the Government of West Bengal. Both these companies facilitate sub stocking through Future Trade Solution LLP. Martin Santiago is the director/shareholder of all the three companies which are Future Trade Solutions Private Limited, Future Gaming Solutions Private Limited and West Bengal State Lottery Stockists Syndicate Private Limited.
According to official reports, an assessee in the Martin Group admitted to 595 crores of unaccounted income in currency received from stockists towards manipulation of PWT (Prize Winning Tickets)
As per a statement released by the Income Tax Department on 4th May, with respect to the Group’s real estate & finance business in Coimbatore, the assessee also admitted to offer further unaccounted income to tax after reconciliation of over 600 crores of unaccounted receipts (which includes on-money received in real estate and interest received on loans given) and payments for various investments.
During the IT raid, 8.25 crores of unaccounted cash was found- out of which 5.8 crores cash was seized. The remaining cash has been kept under prohibitory orders for further investigation and verification. Unaccounted gold and diamond jewellery of an approximate value of about 24.57 crores was also seized during the search.
Between the two raids, officials made smaller raids and picked up people close to Martin for questioning. T. Palasinamy, 45-year-old accountant working for Martin Group was questioned by the IT officials. He was found dead under suspicious circumstances on 3rd May. His son has filed a complaint with the local police about the death.
Over the years, Martin has been under the vigilance of several investigative agencies who have been probing his questionable dealings as lottery distributor of state governments. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has also filed several charge sheets against Martin and his associates in lottery fraud cases involving the Kerala government.
The Coimbatore based business group is known to function as a marketing agent for handling the lotteries run by certain State Governments as per agreement. Martin’s companies are the official lottery distributors/marketing agents for various North-Eastern states such as Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram.
Prohibitory orders have been placed in several premises where incriminating evidence comprising a large volume of paper and electronic documents still remained to be examined.