Beware if you buy lottery tickets! It appears that the Sikkim Lottery has flat out refused to pay out a 2 lakh cash prize won by 65 year old Senior Citizen C K Pai. What is worse, it appears that there is no legal way for lottery winners to recover their lottery winnings if Sikkim Lottery (or any other) refuses to pay. This astonishing email was forwarded to me today by an activist friend, Krishnaraj Rao:
In brief: Mr C K Pai (9323556850), a 65-year-old Mumbai resident was overjoyed on 4th April lottery results for Sikkim Lottery last year when his name featured among lottery winners - he had won Rs 2 lakh in the Sikkim fast-digit lottery. However, his joy has turned to dismay and frustration, as he is still waiting for his prize money... and the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is nowhere in sight! The Mumbai representatives "Pan India Ltd; - Worli Mumbai" are not only unresponsive, but also rude and indifferent to the plight of the desperate senior citizen. And so is the Director of Sikkim State Lottery.
I have to inform you that I had won a lottery prize of Sikkim fast digit lottery in draw no 40 date 4th April 2012 for rs 2, 00,000/- (Rs two lacs only). The necessary formalities of paper work were duly completed by me and submitted on 12th April 2012 to Pan India Network Pvt Ltd ; 135 Continental bldg, second floor, Dr Annie Besant road – Worli – Mumbai- 400018. The said company works for collection of prizes in Mumbai for Sikkim Govt.
Till date despite lapse of one year ( i.e. – on 12th April – 2013 ), I have not received my prize money. I am really desperate, mentally defeated as my requests by phone calls and sms to Pan India Ltd; - Worli Mumbai office have fallen on deaf ears and my efforts have been fruitless throughout one year. Even after begging for my prize with Mumbai office, I was told to approach High Court- Supreme Court for settling the issue early. I was bluntly told that even this move by me would not help and would not harm company in any way.
I have detailed all these facts in my letter dated 04.03.2013 written to the Director of Sikkim State lotteries govt of Sikkim- Balwakhani – Gangtok – 737101 and copy endorsed to Pan India Ltd - Worli – Mumbai – 400018. I am in receipt of a acknowledgement of letter from Sikkim govt.
I am senior citizen (65 yrs) and need money for my cataract operation. Your early compliance in the matter will mean immense help to me and I will remain indebted to you for the same.
I note to forward the Xerox copies of all papers in the matter at an early date.
Thanking you in anticipation
Here is Mr. Pai's grievance status on this state sanctioned fraud. Grievance regarding non-payment of winnings from Sikkim State Lottery
In May 2011, Sikkim State Lottery had been banned in Kerala and the Kerala High Court had given the nod for a CBI investigation into what appeared to be a multi-crore-rupee lottery scam in Kerala. In a major embarrassment for Congress, their spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi (he wasn't famous then) appeared in court on behalf of Megha Distributors. Ashwani Khurana was arrested for siphoning off several crores from the Sikkim State Lottery and defrauding his partners.
So obviously, it looked like there was something shady going on and the law ought to be on the side of the person conned, right? Wong.
Further checking showed me that in India, while lotteries run by the state are legal, the courts will not help recovery of "wagers" - all gambling earnings - which in essence is what a lottery is, so you have this legal construct where gambling is illegal, state lotteries are legal, but if they refuse to pay you the amount you win, the court will not help you to "claim gambling losses".
To quote briefly on the pertinent gambling related laws:
Section 30 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872: This Section prevents any person from bringing a suit for recovery of any winnings won by way of a ‘wager.’ (An agreement which is based on a future uncertain event wherein the loss of one person is the gain of the other). Thus no claim for recovery of any winnings in lotteries, gambling or betting can be brought before the court. The position of law in India is such that it may be perfectly legal to buy a lottery ticket, but the winner of such a lottery will have no remedy against the lottery agency if the said agency refuses to pay the winnings. This same position was reiterated in Subash Kumar Manwani v. State of M.P. (AIR 200 MP 109) - read judgment.
This basically means that the state can run lotteries and refuse to pay out winnings and there is nothing anyone can do about this. Between abject refusals such as these, and unclaimed lottery winnings... one has to wonder how many of lottery payouts advertized actually get paid.
Is it just me or is there something really insane about this?
Read the grievance document embedded below: