Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has called for stringent legal action on the part of the State government to control the flourishing of inter-State lottery mafia in Kerala.
Inaugurating a session on ‘Lottery: the Contemporary Jargon of Gambling’ organised by the Quran Study Centre here on Saturday, the Opposition leader also demanded the government to undertake massive awareness campaign to sensitize public on the darker side of the illegal lottery trade.
According to Mr. Chandy, the State government was proceeding ahead with their baseless allegations against the Union Ministry without initiating a single step to penalise those who carry out the illegal lottery trade. It is a reality that the State government can make use of around 10 provisions in the Central Law which restrains the distribution of inter-State lottery infringing the enforced norms, he added.
Mr. Chandy pointed out that the State governments were only denied the right of banning lottery tickets. But, the law never forbids any State from initiating actions against agents who spoil the transparent operation of the sector, he clarified.
The Opposition leader urged the government to introduce restrictions on the public advertisement campaign of the inter-State lottery mafia through various means. He also scoffed at the argument of the management of a Television Channel controlled by Communist Party of India (Marxists) that they stopped the live telecasting of lottery draw owing to the withdrawal of the concerned company from the telecasting agreement.
“The Channel could have tendered an apology in front of the public for the mistake they committed. Instead, they are now justifying their stand,” the Opposition leader blamed. He added that the Opposition would have openly appreciated the move of the Chanel if it had tendered an apology in front of the public rectifying their fault.
Mr. Chandy also exuded confidence that the online lottery system would never stage a come back in the State. A strong legislation, introduced during the reign of the previous United Democratic Front–led government, is in force here to prevent the entry of the system, he affirmed.
Panakkad Rasheed Ali Shihab Thangal presided over the seminar. E.T Mohammed Basheer, M.P and Quran scholar Rahmathulla Quasimi were also present.
Ready for debate in presence of Chief Minister
Later speaking to reporters here, Mr. Chandy has stated that he will be ready to join an open debate on the lottery scandal provided Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan is ensuring his presence in the forum.
“The UDF will send a delegate to the proposed discussion planned by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac,” he said adding that Mr. Isaac should first convince his-own party about his stance on the issue.