Kerala CM’s counsel appears for ‘lottery king’; Congress sees red

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 5 (IANS) The Congress in Kerala on Tuesday voiced its concern over senior advocate M.K. Damodaran appearing as legal counsel for ‘lottery king’ Santiago Martin in a case registered by the Enforcement department.

Damodaran is known to be close to Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan and had been his counsel in the SNC Lavalin case.

During the tenure of V.S. Achuthanandan as Kerala Chief Minister, Vijayan had opposed a CBI probe against Martin.

“It’s unacceptable that the Chief Minister’s counsel is appearing for someone who has numerous cases registered against him,” state Congress President V.M. Sudheeran said.

“It is improper that the Chief Minister’s counsel is appearing for Martin. It is mysterious,” said Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.

“The Chief Minister’s counsel is appearing for Martin and it proves our allegations that there’s a secret pact between the CPI-M and Martin,” said senior Congress legislator V.D. Satheesan.

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In the past, the Congress had accused the Communist Party of India-Marxist of receiving money from Martin. Following the furore, the CPI-M reportedly returned the money.

On its part, the CPI-M had red-flagged the Congress when its party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Martin a few years back.

Martin is facing several cases regarding sale of lottery tickets of Bhutan in Kerala, besides another case registered by the Enforcement department. The state government has filed a revision petition against the exoneration of Martin by the CBI in 23 cases.



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