A Financial Inspection Wing (FIW) probe into the Kerala lotteries department two years ago had revealed that several officials connived to swindle money from governments funds. The FIW reports had strong evidence against officials who happened to be involved in the case. While the Kerala government announced that strict measures have been taken in order to plug loopholes and avoid funds from being misused, the reality is still the same. In a recent case, there were allegations against a treasury officer from Kerala who swindled money from the State Tribal welfare department.
The financial inspection wing (FIW) probe brought into light that officials working in the lotteries department conspired to con money by pretending to transport lottery tickets to various locations. The officials involved in swindling funds presented forged documents for travel expenses on 232 non-existent trips. In total, INR 41.9 Lakhs was claimed fraudulently by 24 officials including a deputy director, junior superintendent, upper division clerk, and district lotteries officer from year 2013-2017. The names of the 24 officials have been revealed in the probe but to no avail.
In addition, the FIW investigation logged various other instances of malpractice, including how contracts were awarded for lottery distribution. A contract was given to the same person for many years, despite evidence that ownership of vehicles were not registered to the same person. The evidence provided was the fact that one vehicle was registered at a date after the contract was awarded, and another vehicle was recorded at two different locations simultaneously. While there has been no explanation as to why action has not been taken, it is learnt that there was pressure from higher authorities to remove a few names from the list of the officials involved.
The inspection team made six recommendations to the government in order to look into this issue and also asked for stringent punishments to implemented against officials who are involved in malpractices. The Indian government has a complicated relationship with lotteries. While they are an important source of revenue for states, opponents argue that it can lead to addiction and financial pressure on families. The state of Andhra Pradesh ended its lottery in 2007 following protests led by women. However, due to extreme financial pressure, the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy-led government is looking forward to reintroduce lotteries in the state. Stay tuned for more updates on gambling in India and keep reading GutshotMagazine.com