The Opposition on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Kerala assembly in protest against government's refusal to order a probe into alleged corruption in allowing more daily draws to distributors of Bhutan lotteries.
Raising the corruption charge of Rs 25 crore during a discussion of Kerala Appropriation Bill 2010, V D Sateeshan (Cong) said more than Rs 22 crore to Rs 40 crore was being "siphoned off" daily by lottery operators from the state as a result of the government permitting two draws per day.
Their operations were in violation of the Kerala State Lottery Regulation act 1998, Lottery Regulation Rules 2010 and Kerala Taxes on Lottery 2005, Sateeshan said.
He alleged that the state government was in favour of the "lottery mafia" and that the main agent of Sikkim and Bhutan lotteries in Kerala was close to CPI(M), the lead partner in ruling LDF.
He also pointed out that as per rules, tax for allowing the draw has to be collected one month in advance. However in this case, draw was allowed just two days after collecting the tax.
Denying the Opposition allegation, Finance Minister T M Thomas Issac said Kerala has limitations in controlling lotteries of other states. It was for the Centre to take action on this matter.
As per the Central Act, the state could not refuse to accept tax from lottery operators, he said.
Issac also rejected the Opposition demand for a probe into the matter.
Irked Opposition members, led by its leader Oommen Chandy, then walked out of the house.
Later speaking to reporters, Issac said the government wold examine whether tax officials had committed irregularities in collecting tax in advance.