A report today in The Times of India has uncovered evidence of financial fraud in the Kerala lotteries department which as of yet has gone unpunished for over two years.
A financial inspection wing (FIW) probe found that officials working in the lotteries department conspired to con money by pretending to transport printed lottery tickets to various locations. The rogue officials presented forged documents for travel expenses on 232 non-existent trips.
In total, Rs. 41.9 Lakhs was claimed fraudulently by 24 named officials including a deputy director, junior superintendent, upper division clerk, and district lotteries officer from 2013-2017.
In addition, the FIW investigation logged various other instances of malpractice, including in how contracts were awarded for lottery distribution. A contract was given to the same person for many years, despite evidence ownership of vehicles used for the distribution were not registered to the same person - a breach of rules.
Evidence of fraud in this area was the fact one vehicle was registered at a date after the contract was awarded, and another vehicle was recorded at two different locations simultaneously.
There has been no explanation of why action hasn't been taken against the individuals who are believed to have been involved in malpractice.
India has a complicated relationship with lotteries. While they are an important source of revenue for states, opponents argue they can lead to addiction and financial pressure on families. Many states have outright bans, while others have just banned online lotteries.
The state of Andhra Pradesh ended its lottery in 2007 following protests led by women who complained family incomes were being decimated by frequent lottery play. However, in the face of financial pressure, the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy-led government is looking to reintroduce the lottery.