After intense speculations, a 58-year-old auto-rickshaw driver from Ernakulam district of Kerala was adjudged the winner of the Rs 12 crore Thiruvonam Bumper Lottery instituted by the state government.
Jayapalan P R, a resident of Maradu in Kochi, was certified as the first prize winner of the lottery after he submitted the original copy of the prize-winning ticket at the nearby bank branch. After deducting taxes and the agency’s commission, he’s poised to receive a sum of nearly Rs 7.4 crore.
Jayapalan told the local media that he had bought the ticket from Meenakshi Lucky Centre, an agency which has brought luck to many, in Thripunithura on September 10. He had picked out the particular prize-winning ticket as the number sounded “fancy” to him. The ticket cost Rs 300. He said that he purchases lottery tickets on a regular basis and has won Rs 5,000 on an earlier occasion.
He realised he was the winner on Sunday afternoon, when the ticket number flashed on TV screens during the draw in Thiruvananthapuram, overseen by two ministers of the state government. He reportedly told his son about the ticket but did not divulge the news to his friends or family. On Monday, he cross-checked the news in the newspaper and went straight to the bank to deposit the ticket.
When asked what he would do with the prize money, Jayapalan told a channel, “I have some debts that I want to pay off. I also have two ongoing civil cases in the court which I wish to clear. I want to provide good education to my children and financially support my sisters.”
His mother told the channel, “We were floating in debts. If not for this lottery, my son wouldn’t have been able to pay them off. I think God saw my tears and helped us.”
Earlier, there was a confusion over the winner of the lottery after Sayed Alavi, a cook at a hotel in Dubai hailing from Wayanad district of Kerala, claimed that he was the winner. He said that his friend in Kerala, who had purchased the ticket for him, had sent him a photograph of the winning ticket. But it later turned out that Alavi’s friend had tricked him. In the hours following the lottery draw, TV channels and thousands on social media spread information that would lead to the winner of the state’s biggest lottery.
Apart from the Rs 12 crore jackpot, the lottery also had prizes of Rs 1 crore each for six winners, Rs 10 lakh each for 12 winners, Rs 5 lakh each for 12 winners and Rs 1 lakh each for 108 winners. The prize money is computed after deduction of taxes and commission for the agency and the ticket seller.
The lotteries department of the state government said it had printed 54 lakh tickets this year for the Thiruvonam bumper lottery, all of which got sold out. The department had printed 10 lakh tickets more than last year. The sales from the bumper amounted to Rs 126 crore this year.