Kishen Chand, a small-time trader from Panipat in Haryana, got lucky, but not lucky enough. He won Rs. 1 crore in a lottery but now, between him and the grand amount, stands the unfriendly rules of the Kerala lottery department.
Chand, 74, purchased a bundle of 50 lottery tickets during his visit to Kerala on a business trip last December. As it turned out, when the lots were drawn, one of his tickets got the first prize – Rs. 1 crore.
But at this point his luck seemed to abandon him.
The Kerala lottery department refused to give Chand his prize. The reason: the state lottery sale is restricted to the state, therefore Chand, an "outsider", does not qualify as a winner.
The lottery directorate, however, doesn't say anything about outsiders qualifying as buyers.
After six months of running pillar to post, Chand is disgusted but not dispirited. Since Monday, he has been on dharna outside the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram.
"The authorities are passing the buck. Their decision is against the federal polity of the nation," says Chand.
State lottery director Biju Prabhakar said at least a dozen such cases were pending before the Kerala high court.
Sivan Madathil, a high court lawyer, agreed with Chand. "Lottery is a commercial activity. How can you put a regional tag on it?"