TVM woman street vendor wins Rs 1 cr Kerala lottery, gets tricked, cops get it back for her

Sukumariamma who sells caps at Museum. Photo : Special Arrangement

Thiruvananthapuram: Every time Sukumariamma, a 72-year-old street vendor at Museum Junction here, buys lottery tickets, she prays to win just enough money to procure a plot and build a house. It was her lucky day on May 15. Ticket number - FG 348822 of Fifty-Fifty Kerala state lotteries won the first prize worth Rs 1 crore. She took 12 tickets of the same series for Rs 1,200 on May 14. 

Sukumariamma won the first prize and a consolation prize of Rs 8000. Then there was a twist. Kannan, the lottery seller who sold her the ticket, cooked up a lie to steal the top prize-winning ticket from her. Initially, he said she won Rs 500 each for 12 tickets. An unsuspecting Sukumariamma was generous enough to offer him Rs 500 and asked for his help to get the remaining Rs 5500. Kannan walked away with all the 12 tickets. 

It was then that another street vendor checked the numbers and told Sukumariamma that there was no prize for the numbers she showed. Later Kannan came back and told her that there was a mistake. This time his story was that she won Rs 100 each for 12 tickets. Sukumariamma again fell for his story. Kannan went to Palayam and started distributing sweets saying that he won Rs 1 crore lottery. Radhakrishnan, a lottery vendor at Palayam shared the news with Prabha, another lottery vendor at the Museum and a friend of Sukumariamma. 

Kannan and Sukumariamma

Out of curiosity, Prabha asked for the winning number. Prabha knew the series. “I knew this was the number Sukumariamma had taken. The next morning I told her and confirmed that it was the same number. We both knew she has been tricked,'' said Prabha. By then Kannan went incommunicado. His phone was switched off. Sukumariamma then approached the lottery directorate with the complaint. ''I was told to file a police complaint and come back with an FIR. I always bought tickets from Kannan. I trusted him. I never thought he would do this to me,'' said Sukumariamma.

The Museum police found merit in her complaint and arrested Kannan. '' We checked with the department, the agency and confirmed the series. We knew the complaint was genuine and wanted to help her. Kannan had given the ticket to a bank in Peroorkada. We have seized the ticket. She can receive the ticket in two ways; either they reach a settlement or the case has to be decided at the court. We picked Kannan from Pipinmoodu near Peroorkada and he confessed to cheating her,'' said Aneez A, Museum police station sub-inspector. 

Kannan has been remanded in judicial custody. He has been slapped with charges of criminal breach of trust and cheating. 

Sukumariamma, who retired as a sweeper from the Museum and zoo department, has been buying lottery tickets for a long time. She had earlier won prizes worth Rs 30,000 and 60,000. She has a son and a daughter. '' My husband died when my son was just 5 years old. I raised my children doing all kinds of jobs from carrying cow dung to cement in construction sites. Later, I got a job as a sweeper. All these years I have lived on rent. My dream is to have a small plot with my own house. That's why I kept buying lottery tickets. I hope I will receive my prize soon,'' said Sukumariamma.

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