The Kothamangalam police busted a three-member racket who had allegedly defrauded several lottery agents using fake tickets and broke into houses during nights.

The arrested are Shihabuddin, 32, of Chengamanad; Sabu, 47, of Kattapana, and Shahul Hameed, 28, of Chelakkara. Officials said Shahul Hameed and Shihabuddin, who had earlier served a jail term together in another cheating case, carried out the fraud using colour prints of prize-winning tickets.

According to the police, the racket had defrauded several lottery agents across the State by claiming prize money using fake tickets. The fraud came to light when Sabu, the third member of the racket, approached a lottery ticket agent in Kothamanglam to claim a prize money of Rs. 5,000 by producing a fake ticket.

“They [accused] had been carrying out fraud since July 14, and they first began by printing 30 copies of a ticket with a prize money of Rs. 100. Two days later, they cheated another batch of lottery agents using copies of a ticket which had won Rs. 500,” said an officer attached to the Kothamanagalam police station.

During the examination, the police seized a colour printer, several fake tickets, and Rs. 32,000 from a house where the accused had been camping. Further investigations revealed that Sabu had served jail term for house-breaking and was released only last month. He became acquainted with Shihabuddin while in jail. Besides lottery fraud, they broke into houses during nights.

The accused were produced before a magistrate and remanded in custody. The police will seek their custody for further interrogation.

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