"I wish I hadn't won."
An Indian man who won £2.8 million on his local lottery has now regretted his win as he has been bombarded with demands for money from strangers.
Rickshaw driver Anoop Babu, from Kerala, won the jackpot in a state government lottery on September 18, 2022.
He had been buying lottery tickets for years but only won small prizes.
Prior to winning the lottery, Anoop was set to move to Malaysia to work as a cook.
He revealed that he was in so much debt that he raided his son’s piggy bank to pay for the winning ticket.
But after winning the jackpot, dozens of strangers have been asking him for money.
Anoop stated: “I wish I hadn’t won. The third prize may have been better.
“I was overjoyed when I won. There were people and cameras at the house and we were happy.”
Strangers have been standing outside his home and following him in the street in a bid to get some of his winnings.
It has led him to tell the hecklers to stop harassing him and his family.
Anoop also revealed that he has been staying in different houses.
He continued: “I have lost all peace of mind and I can’t even reside in my own home as I am besieged with people who come calling to ask me to sort out various needs of theirs as I have won the first prize.
“I now keep changing where I stay as I have lost all peace of mind that I enjoyed till I won the prize.
“I have to keep changing houses. I went and stayed in my sister’s house, but people searched that address out and came there. I came now as my child is unwell.”
Despite not receiving his winnings yet, people continue to harass him.
Anoop said: “All I can tell everyone is that I haven’t gotten any money yet. No-one seems to understand my problem, no matter how many times I say it.”
His wife Maya said:
“They just come and demand money, we don’t know what to say. Anoop is not even able to return home.”
Anoop’s neighbours and friends are annoyed with him as his win has disrupted the peace of the village.
He said: “My neighbours are angry as many people who come looking for me hang around in the neighbourhood.
“Even when wearing a mask, people crowd around me knowing I am the winner. All my peace of mind has disappeared.”
Once Anoop receives his winnings, the state government will provide a day’s training in financial management.
Anoop said that he plans to use his winnings to clear his debts and set up his own business.