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Dues to be collected from lottery operators

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Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said the Government will do everything possible under the law to recover from the lottery operators the taxes due from them for the business they had transacted in Kerala during the years 2002-03 and 2003-04.

In a press release here on Tuesday, Dr. Isaac said there was no truth in certain media reports suggesting that his department was not interested in recovering the dues from the lottery operators from other States. He also dismissed the suggestion that there was difference of opinion within the Government on the lottery issue.

He said the LDF Government's stand in enforcing the laws governing lotteries was quite different from the stand adopted by the previous Government. The Government viewed online lotteries as a gambling activity that should not be permitted in the State. Paper lotteries should operate only as per the laws governing the subject. The UDF Government had given an undertaking in the Supreme Court that it would withdraw all cases registered against lottery operators for flouting the stipulations under section 4 of the Lottery Act and would not register any further cases against them. The LDF Government could not accept this affidavit, Dr. Isaac said.

He said the lottery operators from other States had done massive tax evasion in the State. He said he had called a meeting on August 2 to discuss how to handle the lottery issue. The following are the decisions taken at the meeting: The case filed by online lottery operators in the Supreme Court against the law enacted in Kerala banning their business should be fought efficiently. The case would come up for argument next month.

The State Government's affidavit filed in the Supreme Court during the time of the UDF regime agreeing to withdraw all cases registered under section 4 of the Lotteries Act should be amended. The Advocate General would attend to this.

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