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May 20, 1999
Euro lottery winner joins TDP
Shireen in Hyderabad
The ruling Telugu Desam Party bagged a 'prize catch' on Wednesday when the Euro lottery-winner from Vijayawada, Kolla Venkata Krishna Mohan joined the party.
Krishna Mohan, who had hit the headlines for winning the $ 19.8 million lottery in November last year, took TDP membership along with 300 supporters in Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu was present on the occasion.
Speaking to the media, Krishna Mohan said, "Inspired by the Telugu Desam Party's policies and programmes and the governance of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, I have decided to strengthen the party by contributing my services."
Asked whether he would contest the forthcoming polls to the Lok Sabha or the state legislative assembly, Krishna Mohan said that he was yet to think about the matter.
He claimed that several political parties had approached him but he chose the TDP to serve the people. "I am ready to shoulder any responsibility assigned to me by the party," he said.
The 43-year-old businessman, hailing from a family of contractors in the coastal town of Vijayawada, said that he had picked up the Euro lottery ticket while waiting for a connecting flight at Heathrow Airport in London last year.
He claimed the prize money in February 1999, by which time the amount rose to $ 20 million along with interest.
The lottery is sponsored by the Netherlands, German and British governments.
Krishna Mohan claimed that Britain, Mauritius and Montenegro had offered him citizenship to attract his investments but he chose to remain in India.
In fact, he did not want to leave his native town, Vijayawada, although he had received threatening calls and faced extortion threats. He has been provided armed security by the police.
He said the bonanza has only shattered his peace of mind. "I have lost my privacy and peace of mind and cannot move freely with my family. Moreover, there are many voluntary organisations and others pestering me to join them or donate money," he said.
Krishna Mohan said that he has donated Rs 1 million for an orphanage in Vijayawada and Rs 150,000 for police welfare activities.
He is keen to take up social service in a big way. "I have represented to the government of India seeking income tax exemption for the prize money since I would like to spend a part of it for charity," he said
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