Lottery Winner in India Dies Under Suspicious Circumstances After Celebration

Winning a substantial sum in a lottery draw didn’t have a fairy-tale happy ending for a man from Kerala, India. During a celebration of his newfound wealth, amounting to INR8 million (about US$97,000), the 35-year-old fell from a terrace. He later died while undergoing treatment at a hospital, and police believe it may have been more than a simple accident.

A kiosk offering lottery products in Kerala, India
A kiosk offering lottery products in Kerala, India. A recent lottery winner died following a celebration of the win. (Image: The Indian Express)

The man, only identified as Sajeev by local media outlet On Manorama, hit the lottery last month when his numbers landed in the Kerala State Lottery. US$100K is a lot of money anywhere, but in Kerala, where, according to Salary Explorer, the average monthly salary is less than US$2K, it goes much further.

The windfall was reason enough to celebrate, so he, his brother and some others gathered at a friend’s rented house to party this past Saturday. Before the night was over, Sajeev was dead and police were investigating a possible homicide.

Lottery Celebration Turns Deadly

As do most celebrations, liquor was involved, which makes a lot of the details surrounding the night’s events more than a little fuzzy. What has surfaced so far is that, at some point, Sajeev may have gotten into an argument with one of his friends that got out of control.

The police believe, based on interviews with those at the party, that Sajeev and a friend, Santhosh, got into a shouting match. They’re not sure what started it, but Santhosh eventually pushed Sajeev, causing him to fall.

That fall included a free-fall drop into a pit outside the house, but the sudden stop didn’t seem to have led to Sajeev suffering any injury. Later, however, he began complaining of discomfort and his brother took him to a local hospital.

Two days after suffering the fall and only weeks after winning the lottery, Sajeev died. The fight apparently caused some form of internal injury that initially went undetected, contributing to his death.

That opened the doors for the current homicide investigation. However, nothing will be conclusive until after a medical examiner performs an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

The authorities will also have to determine what to do with Sajeev’s lottery winnings. The money had already been deposited into his bank account, but he never thought he would need a will at his young age.

Seeking Refuge Following Lottery Win

Lotteries are big business in India, as well as the source of big debate. Different states have tried to ban them over the years as a form of gambling, but they still flourish. As with virtually all lotteries everywhere, there’s too much money at stake for the winners and the governments for them to be ignored.

This is good news for lottery players and the past couple of weeks have proven to be beneficial to several in India. A man in Kolkata recently won, but his first thought wasn’t how to spend the money. Instead, it was finding the nearest police station.

The man, SK Badesh, only won because he happened to buy a ticket while on a day work assignment in a town halfway across the country. It worked out, though, as he pocketed INR7.5 million (US$91,200).

Concerned that someone might try to still the winning ticket, Badesh headed directly to a police station. After receiving reassurances that his winnings were protected, he mustered the strength to exit and return home with his winnings.

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