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India’s comptroller warns of lottery ticket scam

TAGs: Comptroller and Auditor General, India, India Lottery

According to a revenue report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, Kerala is overrun with fake lottery tickets. The report indicated that, between 2011 and 2017, the district lottery offices in the state collected a total of 348,699 tickets, indicating a lax attitude on the part of Kerala government officials to properly monitor the industry. It further stated that the government hasn’t taken enough measures to prevent the scams.

India's Comptroller warns of lottery ticket scamKerala officials responding by saying that they were investigating cases regarding the production of fake lottery tickets, adding that “inquiry in the cases is progressing and penal provisions could be initiated only on completion of the inquiry.” The CAG countered by saying that the investigation wasn’t enough, and that the state needed to be more proactive in the supervision of lotteries, in accordance with Lottery (Regulation) Rules established in 2010.

Lotteries have been a touchy subject in India for some time and Kerala isn’t the first state to come under fire for its practices. In June 2017, the CAG revealed discrepancies in the Mizoram government’s handling of state lotteries. It said that the government never collected all of the proceeds allowing, instead, the distributors to deposit a “minimum guaranteed revenue.” The CAG also accused Mizoram of accepting all lottery schemes as presented by the distributors without making any changes.

In April, the Kerala High Court shot down a proposal submitted by tax agents that would have required lottery agents and distributors to provide the agency with the personal details of lottery winners. The court ruled that the government doesn’t maintain the authority to enforce the rule.

Last year, the Mizoram government was stopped by Kerala from selling lottery tickets in the state. Kerala officials confiscated all of the tickets and ordered Mizoram to halt all lottery activities in Kerala. It also accused Mizoram of enabling tax evaders, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Following the ban against Mizoram, the Kerala High Court sided with Mizoram, allowing its lottery sales in Kerala to continue.

The latest CAG report was presented to the Assembly this past Tuesday. While no official response was given, there’s a possibility the practice could be halted completely if the states don’t take additional steps to clean up the industry.

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