Shillong’s richest man overnight

One crore twenty lakhs of rupees is a whopping sum, enough to send any mortal like us into hysterics. But not Mr Gautam Chatterjee, the unassuming Shillong who recently netted the first price of UP State Lottery, carrying the mind-boggling sum.

Mr Gautam Chatterjee, a slightly-built, eligible bachelor clerk of the State Bank of India, is extremely publicity shy. (In fact he didn’t even want his name published) when this reporter called on him at his Laitumkhrah office, he treated the enquiries in an extremely dispassionate and matter-of-fact manner.

Recalling how he first came to know that Lay Luck had showered her blessings bountiful on him, he said that he had discovered it on October 12 last year as he sat with a few friends at their mess at Laban.

On hearing the exciting news, his friends, not knowing how to react, advised him to go home immediately. Although he was not apprehending any threats of being way-laid for the precious ticket, he decided to play it safe, and next morning deposited the ticket with his Bank for safe-keeping. As soon as the word was out, not less than 10 banks approached him with a request to deposit at least a part of the fortune with their banks. Mr Chatterjee, of course, authorised his own Bank to carry out the entire transaction of crediting the amount to his account. The money reached SBI, Shillong, on February 15, some four months after the results were declared. Out of the total sum of Rs. 1.20 crore, 50% (about 60 lakhs) was deducted as taxes, commission, etc. A little over Rs. 60 lakhs was credited to his account at SBI. He is yet to work out the exact interest it will acquire. Calculated at 5% interest per annum it yields a clear Rs. 25,000 every month before tax deduction.

Plans ahead

Well, that’s a hell of a lot of money. How does he plan to utilize this windfall? Mr. Chatterjee seems to have already made up his mind. He disclosed in a well-rehearsed manner that he plans to create a Trust, and the interest so derived would be utilized for awarding scholarships to deserving students pursuing any technical course. “I would like to do this because I myself faced such difficulty during my student days”, he added. He is also keen to invest in some sort of industry thereby creating job opportunities for the educated unemployed. He is presently consulting some experts to work out the details.

The cost of putting his younger brother through Pillani, will now be borne by him. His brother is presently doing his stint in Electronic Engineering at the reputed engineering Institute. Mr Chatterjee also has plans for his mother and two sisters, but was hesitant about disclosing them partly for privacy, and partly because he would like it to come as a pleasant surprise to them. For the immediate present, however, the entire sum of Rs. 60 lakhs lies in the safe vaults of State Bank.

No, he is not a habitual buyer of lottery tickets. Mr. Chatterjee bought the winner ticket on the spur-of the-moment. Interestingly enough, he had been foretold about winning the lottery. Way back in 75-76, a palmist once of his hand prophesized that a lottery prize was in store for him. A that time, Mr Chatterjee had dismissed it as a big joke.

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