Disputed Lottery win tears ‘close-knit’ family apart in decade-long legal spat


A man has given up fighting over a lottery win which has driven his once “close-knit” family apart.

Ajnesh Chinappa admits he and his wife, Vilashni “can’t take it any further” after spending the last decade locked in a legal row over a $250,000NZD (£128,000) win.

New Zealand’s Court of Appeal in Auckland heard Ajnesh’s mum, Kaniamma Winter bought the lucky lottery ticket 13 years ago but put down Vilashni’s bank details as she was with her at the time.

A family feud broke out after Ajnesh used $30,000 (£15,000) of that money on a house for the family which was fine until he fell out with his sister and her partner.



Confusion over who owned the lottery ticket sparked has been heard in court

Today (Wednesday, May 18) Ajnesh told the New Zealand Herald: “My mum won the Lotto, not my sister.”

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The Court of Appeal says regarding the case: “There is a dispute as to whether Angeline (Ajnesh’s sister) or her mother purchased the Lotto ticket.”

After a decade of disputing the details of the win, Ajnesh said they “can’t take it any further” and now plan to sell the house in question to make the payments ordered by the court.

The Court of Appeal said: “What is agreed is that on 24 January 2009, Mrs Winter and her daughter-in-law, Vilashni, went grocery shopping.



Lotto poster
Some of the Lotto winnings were splashed on a house deposit

“They checked the Lotto ticket at Panmure Stationery and Lotto Shop and found it had won a prize of $250,000. Mrs Winter, with Vilashni’s assistance, completed the Lotto prize claim form on the spot.”

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On the day of the win, Winter filled out the lottery form with her details but gave Vilashni’s bank account number. The sum was later transferred into a bank account set up for the family, although $30,000 (£15,000) was left in Vilashni’s personal account.

Vilashni and Ajnesh spent the $30,000 (£15,000) on a deposit for a six-bedroom house in Auckland’s Papatoetoe where they lived with Winter and sister Angeline.

Divisions formed in 2012 when Angeline’s partner moved in and she and mum Kaniamma Winter were booted from the home.



Lottery balls
The Chinappas have conceded there is nothing more they can do to fight the court’s decision

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The snubbed sister and mum claimed Angeline had 50% equitable interest in the property and that the $30,000 (£15,000) was intended as a “gift”.

The High Court found in 2021 that it was Angeline Narain who owned the winning Lotto ticket and she had a 50% share of the house and the $30,000 (£15,000) was not given to her brother as a gift.

In the recent Court of Appeal judgment, Justice Rachel Dunningham ruled the Chinappas’ appeal was allowed in part.

Justice Dunningham found the Chinappas held a 20% share of the house and concluded that Angeline should be compensated.

The Court of Appeal said it was “satisfied Angeline has established her entitlement to the Lotto sum on the balance of probabilities”.