It was a dream come true for at least five Indians living in cities across the UAE when they either won weekly draws or lotteries, the latest one being a control room operator winning a whopping Rs 45 crore. Indians, most of them coming from middle class or lower middle class, have been participating in large numbers in these lotteries and a significant number of them have won big money over the last few years.
The control room operator in the oil and gas industry was identified as Sreeju, who won the Dh 20,000,000 (approximately Rs 45 crore) Mahzooz Saturday Millions, according to the announcement of the 154th draw held on Wednesday. Hailing from Kerala, Sreeju, 39, has been living and working in Fujairah, about 120 km east of Dubai, for the past 11 years. After the news of his incredible win reached him while he was at work, he said, he was speechless, shocked and surprised to know that he had won, not just a prize, but the top prize.
"I was in my car about to drive around when I checked my Mahzooz account, and I couldn't believe my eyes. I was confused about what to do when I saw my winnings. I waited for that call from Mahzooz to confirm that my winning was true," the Gulf News quoted Sreeju, father of twin six-year-olds, as saying. He now plans to purchase a home in India without any financial liabilities.
"To date, our weekly draws have created 64 millionaires, and distributed close to half a billion dirhams to more than 1,107,000 winners, adding an incredibly positive spin to their stories of victory," Suzan Kazzi, Head of Communications and CSR of Mahzooz Saturday Millions said at a press conference.
Another Indian won the raffle prize with Emirates Draw FAST5 last Saturday, the Gulf News said. Sarath Sivadasan from Kerala, a 36-year-old procurement professional residing in Dubai, won Dh50,000 (approximately Rs 11 lakh) within just two months of participation.
While Sarath is still processing his unexpected win, one thing remains clear his commitment to playing with Emirates Draw. Earlier, on November 9, the Gulf News reported that India's Manoj Bhavsar was among the winners of the Emirates Draw's FAST5 game last Saturday.
Bhavsar, a 42-year-old electronics technician from Mumbai, has been staying for the last 16 years in Abu Dhabi. He won Dh75,000 (about Rs 16 lakh) in the FAST5 raffle, the report said. "I called my mother as soon as I received the congratulatory email, but I kept the news a secret for a while. Instead, I asked her to watch the Live draw stream, and the moment she saw my name on the screen she yelled with joy," Bhavsar said.
He plans to finally settle the debt that burdened him for the past two years.
On November 8, the Gulf News reported that an Indian shipping manager, Anil Gianchandani won USD 1 million in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire promotion held at the Dubai International Airport.
Gianchandani, 60, who works in Sharjah, and a father of two, hails from Delhi. He is the 219th Indian national to have won USD 1 million in the Millennium Millionaire promotion since 1999.
Indian nationals are the biggest buyers of the lottery tickets, the report said. Another report on November 8 said there were two Indians among the winners of the Mahzooz Saturday Millions to receive Dh100,000 each (Rs 22 lakh approximately), one of them from UAE.
Fire and safety technician Sherien, 50, living in the UAE for two decades, found it hard to believe as it marked his first time winning such a substantial prize, the Gulf News said. He is married and has an 11-year-old son, who lives back home in India.