TMC, BJP spar over Bengal MLA's wife winning lottery
A significant lottery win by the wife of a ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Vivek Gupta in West Bengal has sparked a political row. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have accused the TMC of "money laundering" on the pretext of the lottery win. Amid accusations by the BJP leaders, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is likely to take up the case and launch an investigation.
Why does this story matter?
- The rival BJP leaders have claimed that skeletons would start tumbling out of the closet once the ED starts its investigations into the "nexus."
- Taking a jibe at TMC chief Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said, "The lottery should be named Bhaipo (nephew) lottery."
- To note, two TMC affiliates won the grand lottery prize in the last 10 months.
TMC leader's wife wins lottery worth Rs. 1 crore
TMC's Jorasanko MLA Vivek Gupta's wife, Ruchika Gupta, recently won a prize of Rs. 1 crore in a weekly lottery. The lottery by Dear Lottery was drawn on August 31 this year. After winning the lottery, she said, as per the company's newspaper advertisement cited by Hindustan Times, that "she would use the money to enhance the financial situation of her family."
'Nexus between TMC and lottery company'
Following the lottery win, Leader of Opposition Suvendhu Adhikari accused the TMC of laundering money "through lotteries." Adhikari tweeted there was a "tangled relationship" between the lottery company and the TMC. "Common people buy tickets, but TMC leaders win bumper prize. First Anubrata Mondal won the jackpot & now TMC MLA Vivek Gupta's wife has won Rs. 1 crore (sic)," Adhikari tweeted on Tuesday.
'Easy way to launder money'
I've been saying this all along, that Dear (Bhaipo) Lottery TMC have a tangled relationship. It's an easy way to launder money.— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) October 27, 2022
Common people buy tickets but TMC leaders win bumper prize. First Anubrata Mondal won the jackpot now TMC MLA Vivek Gupta's wife has won 1 crore: pic.twitter.com/owtdGOk6xD
People of West Bengal being lured: Adhikari
Adhikari further stated that in November 2021, he wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking action into the "nexus" between the lottery company and the TMC in West Bengal. Earlier in December 2021, the TMC's Birbhum district president Mondal, now arrested "n connection with a multi-crore cattle smuggling scam, won the same Rs. 1 crore prize against a Rs. 6 ticket, said reports.
Allegations against my wife baseless: TMC leader
Meanwhile, terming the allegations "baseless," MLA Gupta told HT, "If my wife has done a crime, then lakhs of people have committed this crime. She had purchased a lottery ticket and won the first prize." "If action is needed, then take against all who have purchased lottery and won prizes," he added. He claimed that he had even received a call from the ED.
Let income tax agencies do their job
Amid the row, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh has questioned why lotteries were allowed to operate if there is anything illegal in the same. He said, "Every week, someone wins the lottery prize. Sometimes the winner may have a political connection." WB minister Firhad Hakim also hit back, saying, "This (investigation) is neither my job nor...of Adhikari. Let the income tax agency do their job."