DMK recieved ₹509 crore from ‘lottery king’

Future Gaming and Hotel Services, a firm run by ‘Lottery King’ Santiago Martin, the largest donor of electoral bonds in India, had contributed Rs 509 crore to the DMK in Tamil Nadu, according to data shared by the party with the Election Commission of India.

This accounts for 37 per cent of the bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore purchased by the company.

Incidentally, in Tamil Nadu, lottery has been banned since 2003 and the M K Stalin Government had also enacted a legislation, banning online gambling and regulating online games.

The data showed that from April 2019 (when DMK was in opposition) to April 2023, the party had received Rs 656.5 crore through electoral bonds of which Rs 509 crore was from Martin’s firm. The other major contribution for the DMK came from “Mega Infrastructure” (the party has not expanded it but the inference is the firm’s full name if the Hyderabad-headquartered Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited), which gave electoral bonds valued cumulatively at Rs 105 crore.

The DMK also received Rs 14 crore from India Cements and Rs 10 crore from Sun TV Network Limited, owned by Stalin’s nephew Kalanithi Maran. Besides, a firm called Triveni had donated Rs 8 crore, IRB Rs 2 crore and Apollo Tyres, Birla and Lakshmi Machine Works Rs one crore each.

For the DMK’s principal rival, the AIADMK, the major contribution of Rs 5 crore came from Chennai Super Kings Limited. The party received Rs one crore from Lakshmi Machine Works and Rs 5 lakh from Gopal Srinivasan of Chennai.