Reiterating Kerala government's stand that it was up to the Centre to take action against promoters of other-state lotteries who were violating rules, state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac on Saturday dismissed the Opposition UDF's demand to hold an enquiry into the operations of 'lottery mafia' in the state.
"What is now needed is not an enquiry to buy time for saving the lottery kingpins, but stern action from the Centre against violation of rules," Isaac told reporters here.
Terming as a 'joke' Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy's demand for his resignation, Isaac said it was during the tenure of Chandy as Chief Minister the state gave registration to Megha distributors owned by Santiago Martin, who was now being dubbed as `criminal' by Congress leaders.
The previous UDF government had turned a blind eye to the violations of online lotteries and paper lotteries from Sikkim and Bhutan, he alleged. If the Congress could force the leadership to take action against Abhishek Singhvi who appeared for Megha distributors, they should also prevail upon the centre to take action against lottery kingpins, he said.
He said a 2008 verdict of the Kerala High Court had clearly said that state governments had no right to hold a roving enquiry about the credentials of a promoter appointed by another state. The verdict also said if there were complaints of violations of lottery rules by any promoter, states could bring it to the notice of the Centre which could take appropriate action.
Isaac said Kerala government had now submitted a report to the High Court, on the latter's direction, that Megha distributors were not the main promoter of Bhutan lotteries. The state also submitted that there was no documentary evidence to prove that Megha was the authorised agent of Bhutan lotteries.
On KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala's statement that the government was scared of an enquiry into the lottery issue, Isaac said there was no need for a probe as the government had no doubt that Santiago Martin was violating rules and was keeping the Centre informed about the violations. "It is now up to the Centre to act," he said.