‘No specific request by Kerala for CBI probe into lottery scam’

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - The centre Thursday ruled out the possibility of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the lottery scam in Kerala as the state government has so far made no specific request in this regard.

In the absence of a proposal (from the state government) the question of the CBI taking over any case for investigation does not arise, a home ministry spokesperson told IANS.

The statement comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan alleged that Home Minister P. Chidambaram was indulging in double-speak on the issue by stating that he had not received a specific proposal from the Left-ruled state government.

The spokesperson said the state government had written only one and not two letters to the central government on the subject of lotteries.

The letter was replied to and the centre had sought a specific proposal in this regard but the second letter never came, he said.

It is clarified that the chief minister of Kerala wrote to the home minister on Nov 29 last year. The minister replied Dec 29. No other letter was written by the home minister to the chief minister on this subject, the spokesperson said.

Achuthanandan told reporters Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram that he had written two letters to Chidambaram urging him to order a CBI probe against the lottery mafia.

Achuthanandan had sought a central probe into the lottery scam, in which agents of the Bhutan and Sikkim lotteries allegedly siphoned off Rs.80,000 crore in the last four years by violating tax laws and diverting unclaimed prize money.

The spokesperson said that Chidambaram had pointed out the procedure that must be adopted by the state government before a case is taken up for investigation by the CBI.

The spokesperson said Chidambaram had written that your letter does not contain a specific request for referring any specific case to the CBI. Besides, the legal position is that the central government cannot suo-moto entrust the investigation of an offence which has taken place in a state to the CBI, unless the state government proposes transfer of the case to the CBI and gives its consent.

The home minister asked the state government to make a notification in this behalf. I may also point out that the CBI is under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances (DOPT) and, therefore, the government of Kerala should write to that department proposing to transfer the case to the CBI.

MHA has enquired with the Department of Personnel and has been informed that no proposal has been received from the government of Kerala regarding any specific case relating to lotteries.

The state Congress has demanded a judicial probe into the “underhand dealings” of the lottery mafia operating in the state.

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