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Mizoram suspends lottery draws

Aizawl: The Mizoram government will not extend the contracts of several lottery draws to firms in the wake of an agitation launched by the Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF).

State finance department on Tuesday issued a notification, suspending all state lottery contracts drawn by four distributors and selling agents, an official said on Thursday.

There are four distributors under the Mizoram State Lottery. While paper lottery was carried out by Teesta Distributors, online lottery was carried out by three distributors - Summit Online Trade Solution, N.V. International and Ecool Gamming Solution.

The MNF had earlier picketed the Directorate of Institutional Finance and State Lottery in Aizawl, demanding the state government to cancel the extension of the contracts of several lottery draws to firms.

The Opposition had alleged that the state government lost a huge amount of money because of improper channelisation of lottery.

MNF general secretary and vigilance committee vice-chairman L. Thangmawia alleged that the state government had incurred losses amounting to nearly Rs 11,808.77 crore because of a lottery scam.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in its latest report presented to the Assembly in 2016, had said the Mizoram government lost Rs 11,808.77 crore during 2012-13 to 2014-15 fiscals because of non-deposit of minimum guaranteed revenue (MGR) and administrative expenses by the four lottery distributors.

"The state government during 2012-13 to 2014-15 received a paltry revenue of Rs 25.45 crore," the report added.

The Opposition had also demanded a CBI probe into the scam and slammed chief minister Lal Thanhawla for being hesitant to call in the investigating agency.

MNF senior vice-president Tawnluia on Monday questioned chief minister Lal Thanhawla's alleged nexus with the four distributors to make profit out of the scam.

Addressing a news conference, Tawnluia said the tender, which had been floated in 2011, was responded by the four distributors at minimum guaranteed revenue and the tenure of these distributors were extended several times by the state without floating new tenders.

Citing cartelisation in the process, the MNF has appealed the state government several times to cancel all lottery process in Mizoram, Tawnluia said.

He alleged that the government lost a huge amount of revenue as the four distributors gave a paltry revenue to the state exchequer.

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