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Dh7m raffle winner in UAE to share money with Pakistani friend

Dh7m raffle winner in UAE to share money with Pakistani friend
Manekudy Varkey Mathew

Abu Dhabi - He had dropped his phone in water and was unreachable for a couple of days.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 11 Sep 2017, 4:17 PM

On Thursday, Big Ticket Abu Dhabi organisers called Manekudy Varkey Mathew to congratulate him on winning Dh7,000,000 but his phone wasn't reachable. And after two days of chasing, Mathew is finally found at his native place of Kochi in the south Indian state of Kerala.

"My phone fell in water and I couldn't use it. Big Ticket organisers contacted me today (Sunday)," Mathew said over phone from Kochi.

The 58-year-old, who works in Al Ain Distribution Company, said this is "God's gift".

Mathew has been trying his luck with Big Ticket ever since the raffle draw was first introduced at Abu Dhabi International Airport. And it was a ticket bought on August 24 from the airport that got him luck. And if he hadn't claimed the prize in six months, it would have gone to charity.

"This is big returns to my investment for all these years. I will split the prize money with two other partners as they had paid for half of the ticket's cost. So, I will share half of it (Dh3.5 million) with other two - an Indian and another from Pakistan."

What does he plan to do with the amount?

"I don't have any plans. I never plan things. If my planning had worked, I would have never won this. I was supposed to return to India two months back but it got delayed," he pointed out. "Everything is planned by him (God). This was destined to happen. This is God's gift. I plan to return to India by year-end," he said.

Mathew says he will discuss with his family on how to make use of the unexpected windfall.

"My son is going to the US for higher studies and daughter is a special child. Wife Chinnamma Mathew works at a hospital in Al Ain."

And on the reaction from friends and family, he said: "I can't go out and my phone rings non-stop. All this is new to me. For the first time in my life, I have won a lottery. I don't know what to say and react."

Mathew will be back in Al Ain on September 17.

"All will be waiting there for me, especially my partners. The winning ticket is with me. They can't claim the prize money without this," he chuckled.


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