Aizawl: Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) on Thursday accused Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla as one of the major players in a multi-crore scam involving a Siliguri-based lottery agent - the Teesta Distributors, owned by Santiago Martin and other share holders.
MNF Youth president K Vanlalvena and vice-chairman of the MNF Legal Board C Lalzamliana told reporters that the Teesta Distributors' office was raided on Thursday last by the sleuths of the Central Board of Direct Taxes where they recovered Rs 50 crore, suspected to be part of a hawala-lottery scam worth at least Rs 1,000 crore.
The MNF leaders alleged Lal Thanhawla overruled the decision of the Mizoram State Lottery Committee (MSLC) headed by the state Chief Secretary and forced the MSLC to select the Teesta Distributor.
The MSLC opened the tender for lottery bids on February 17, 2012 and rejected the bids by Teesta Distributor on May 18, 2012 on the ground that it was a single bid and no comparative statements could be made, Vanlalvena said.
"The decision of the Committee was accepted by the Finance Secretary, Chief Secretary and Finance Minister, but the Chief Minister wrote on May 23, 2012 that he could not accept the decision of the MSLC and Teesta Distributors should be accepted immediately without delay," he alleged.
The MNF leaders alleged the fund-strapped state government lost crores of rupees annually due to alleged malpractices by a section of the people in the government.
The Lottery Scam was investigated by Sunil Kumar, Joint Director General of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which submitted its inquiry report on January 14, 2013, they said adding, the CCI report indicted the state government and the lottery agents.
"The state government and the lottery agents a filed petition against the CCI in the Gauhati High Court and the court ruled in favour of the petitioners," he said.
The CCI then approached the Supreme Court and the latter issued an interim order on March 9 last, instructing the CCI to go ahead with the inquiry, but not to take any decision till the apex court delivered its final judgement, the MNF leaders added.