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By Gaurav Sharma
‘Fast Draw, Fast Money’–the catchy line of Karnataka state lottery–has enticed and entrapped many young men and women into the intricate web of the lottery mafia.
In a short span of ten years, the lottery netherworld has looted the financial coffers of the Indian citizenry off a whopping Rs 7000 crores, through an entrenched nexus of politicians, scamsters and police officers.
Even after single digit lotteries were banned by the Karnataka state government in 2007, the lottery business spread its tentacles in other parts of the country viz the immediate neighbours of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the north-eastern states.
The Modus Operandi
Investigations into the Karnataka lottery scam have revealed that the lotteries were never printed on paper. Apparently the scammers had the brains to understand that printing would lead to a trail.
This, however, did not stymie the free flow of their business. Bets were placed everyday without fail and their results were announced the very same day.
The mastermind or the kingpin would operate out of a particular place and write numbers on chits. These chits would be distributed via coffee shops, tea booths, cigarette, pan shops and grocery stalls.
The winning number would be announced by the kingpin to the buyers through agents. Due to gambling being an addictive sport, the lottery gamut became an instant hit.
From being an impoverished labourer in Myanmar to owning an illegal muti-crore business, Santiago Martin is the king who rules the roost of the lottery empire.
Known for his cunning craft, Martin is the epitome of a rags to riches story. After the Karnataka government banned lottery in 2007, Martin smelled the opportunity to make big moolah again.
By using legal loopholes in the form of distinct laws in neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Martin built a network of agents and police officials to expand the already flourishing lottery business.
Martin’s scamming contributions don’t just extend to the southern states. Seven chargesheets have been filed against him, including one for stripping the Sikkim government off a mind-boggling Rs 4500 crore.
According to the CBI, Martin’s firms had sold Rs 4,752 crore worth of tickets in Kerala on behalf of the Sikkim government since 2005, but paid only Rs 143 crore to the northeastern state. Martin is out on bail while the case remains pending.
The Right Hand Man
Pari Ranjan, a resident of Kolar district in Karnataka and a lottery agent associated with Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd since 1995, was a key member of the lottery racket.
Almost, if not more shrewd than Martin, Ranjan was a calculative business-man who knew how to get through people holding important positions in the security framework.
He enticed those at the higher rungs by handing out handsome amounts of money to the rank and file operating at the grassroots. In case officials were hesitant to accept money, he would attract them with expensive gifts, such as scotch and lavish stays at guest houses.
In case all else failed, Ranjan would shower the officer’s family with an all paid trip to Lord Venkateshwara and sumptuous Tirupati ladoos.
Involvement of State officials
The Karnataka government has been embroiled in a huge controversy after it was discovered that top leaders and police officials were involved in the massive Rs 2000 crore lottery scam run by Martin and his crew.
After it came to light that more than 35 police officials, including 6 IPS cadre and 3 retired DGP’s were hand in glove with the scamsters, the controversy snowballed into a conflagration.
Alok Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City, and Dharanesh, a superintendent of police in the now disbanded Excise and Lottery Enforcement Wing, was indicted by the CID for alleged involvement in the scam.
It was revealed that Kumar and several other police officials had talked to Rajan at least 150 times over the past months. In fact, Kumar had known Rajan for as long as 8 years.
Furthermore, Kumar had gone out of his way and warned an inspector against arresting Rajan.
The rot runs deeper
Martin’s connection with influential leaders is well known. DMK leader K Karunanidhi’s cosy relationship with Martin can be understood clearly through the production grant of his ambitious film Ilaignan to Martin.
Not one to restrict his relations to a single party, Martin is believed to have donated Rs 2 crore to the trove of CPI-M through its mouthpiece Deshabhimani.
Martin’s wife Leema Rose, an office bearer of Indiya Jananayaka Kachi, a constituent of the BJP-led NDA in Tamil Nadu, has also shared the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising suspicious glances.
Charles Jose Martin, Santigo Martin’s elder son is also a member of the BJP. He had been offered the membership at a small event in New Delhi a few months ago.
Mastermind bypasses State Investigation
Although the case is under CID investigation and Martin’s close aide Rajan has been arrested, no case has been registered against Martin by the Karnataka government.
“No one complains formally (about the illegal lottery racket) because of the fear of Martin and his men”, says Anuj Sharma, DIG and Inspector General of the West Bengal CID.
The reason why Martin escaped unscathed is his well-established networking ability.
He formed excellent relations not only with Southern state leaders but also with states in the Northeast as well as with Bhutan and Nepal, where he was the sole distributor of lotteries.
An year ago, a truckload of lottery tickets belonging to Assam, Meghalaya, Bhutan, Sikkim among other states was raided. However, police could not go deeper into the case due to lack of availability of the major players.
“Their network is more swift than that of police”, said a source to NewsGram.
Other sources contend that the sleuths meant to raid and arrest lottery agents were doing their duty just for the namesake, booking cases just for the record.
Irrespective of the police inability and detective inefficiency, the real root of the problem is the lack of political drive to take the case head on.
Unless the upper echelons of the lottery business are brought to book, the disease will keep spreading its wings through other aides. To check its mushrooming requires political will.
The Mysore kingdom became a popular tourist destination after India became an independent country. The Wodeyar dynasty who succeeded Tipu Sultan are still royalty, but they do not rule the state. Their heritage and culture have become what Karnataka is famous for.
Among the many things that Mysore offers to the state of Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is one. In north India, various cultures have their own headgears. They wear their traditional outfits on the days of festivities and ceremonies. Likewise, in the south, especially in Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is worn.
Made of the traditional Mysore silk, the Peta is usually a white turban decorated with a gold silk thread. It is worn by the Maharaja of Mysore during Dasara, or any other public appearance. This tradition has been preserved and is used all over the state by prominent leaders.
Politicians who want to appease older, more experienced politicians, offer a peta as a sign of honour. International guests are welcomed into the city with a peta and silk shawl. In universities, the peta is worn as a replacement to the black caps, as a sign of graduation and scholarship.
Even today, in the court of Mysore, petas are worn and given out as tokens of honour. The peta of the king varies from the ones a courtier wears, and even among them, there is a difference according to status. Petas are made by a particular family and passed down from generation to generation.
Keywords: Mysore kingdom, peta, silk, Wodeyar
Renowned feminist activist, author, and a face of the women's rights movement in India, Kamla Bhasin, passed away today morning at the age of 74.
The news of the same was shared by activist Kavita Srivastava on Twitter. The tweet said, "Kamla Bhasin, our dear friend, passed away around 3am today 25th Sept. This is a big setback for the women's movement in India and the South Asian region. She celebrated life whatever the adversity. Kamla you will always live in our hearts. In Sisterhood, which is in deep grief."
Bhasin, since the 1970s, has been an advocate of women's movement not just in India but other South Asian countries as well. In fact, in 2002, she founded a feminist network named as 'Sangat', which only motive was to work with underprivileged women from rural and tribal communities, often by using non-literary tools like plays, songs, and art.
Having a Master's degree in literature, Bhasin has written many books on gender theory and feminism, and interestingly, many of them have been translated into more than 30 languages. Another quick fact revolving around Bhasin is that the chant of 'Azadi', which is often heard at protests and rallies, was first popularised by her as feminist slogan against patriarchy.
Bhasin was awarded with the "Laadli Life Time Achievement Award" in the year 2017 for her commendable work.
Keywords: Kamla Bhasin, Feminism, India, Patriarchy, Literature, Feminist, Women, Rights
The 76th United Nations General Assembly session opened discussion on 14th September. The high-level General debate began on 21st September and it will continue till 27th September. The agenda of this year's UNGA session is 'Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations'. Only 109 heads of state and government will attend the session in person and approximately 60 other speakers will address the debate via pre-recorded video statements due to the ongoing pandemic.
PM Narendra Modi is the first world leader who has been scheduled to address the General Assembly. He landed in New York at 6:00 AM (IST). "Landed in New York City. Will be addressing the UNGA at 6:30 PM (IST) on the 25th," he tweeted. He was received at the airport by India's permanent representative to the UN ambassador Mr. T S Tirumurti and ambassador of India to the USA Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
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Before leaving for US PM Modi said, "I will be visiting the USA from 22-25 September 2021 at the invitation of His Excellency President Joe Biden of the United States of America. During my visit, I will review the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with President Biden and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest".
During his 5-day visit to the US PM Modi held his first bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden in the oval office of the white house. It was their first in-person meet-up after meeting on virtual mode on three different occasions. He also held a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris joined by the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga. He held one on one meeting with the CEOs of some top companies like Qualcomm, Adobe, First Solar, General Atomics, and Blackstone. PM Modi participated in the Quad Summit held on Friday, in which the fight against Covid, climate change counterterrorism, along free and open Indo-Pacific, were the key concerns of the discussion. He also took part in Covid-19 Global Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden. Pakistan's role in terrorism was also heavily discussed
PM held a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris joined by the Prime Minister of Australia and Japan. Twitter
Today, 25th September 2021 PM Narendra Modi will address the 76th UNGA session at 6:30 PM (IST) which will be live-streamed on various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. PM Modi will talk about issues concerning pressing global challenges which will include the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, climate change, and other important issues. It was in 2019 when PM Modi addressed the UN General Assembly physically as the pandemic went global in 2020, the 75th UNGA was held online where the speakers pre-recorded their speeches. In 2021, the option to pre-record statements has been kept open for the world leaders as the pandemic is worsening in some countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fly back to India after addressing the United Nations General Assembly.