Charles Jose Martin, elder son of lottery king Santiago Martin, has joined the BJP, sources in the party said. Charles, according to a senior BJP leader, had first approached the party three months ago. He was given the membership at a small event held at New Delhi.
Santiago Martin is facing 32 cases of lottery fraud in Kerala, including some in which CBI has already filed chargesheets. He is also accused of defrauding the Sikkim government of Rs 4,500 crore since 2005 by skimming proceeds from the Sikkim lottery in Kerala. While Martin is founder and chairman of Martin Group of Companies, his son is the managing director.
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Martin’s Rs 7,000-crore nationwide lottery business and alleged scams were in the news last month after Pari Rajan, a former employee of his Chennai-based Martin Lottery Agencies, was arrested in Bangalore.
When Martin was jailed for over eight months and faced CBI chargesheets in the multi-crore lottery scam last year, his wife Leema Rose shared the stage with Narendra Modi at an election rally in Coimbatore before the Lok Sabha elections.
A BJP spokesperson in Chennai confirmed that Charles had joined the party. “Unlike his dad, he is not facing cases in the lottery scam. He is a nice person and he has great regard for Modiji and the party,” the spokeperson said.
Martin, who was close to DMK earlier and had produced a Rs 20-crore Tamil film Ilaignan based on a story written by DMK chief M Karunanidhi in 2011, continues to face charges in over a dozen cases, including those of illegal lottery sales and cheating. He was also arrested for alleged land-grabbing after J Jayalalithaa came to power.
While Charles, Martin and his wife Leema were not available for comment, sources close to the family confirmed that Charles was holding top positions including that of managing trustee in more than a dozen companies owned by his father.