Abu Dhabi

Indian driver wins Dh12m in Abu Dhabi raffle

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 3, 2018 | Last updated on April 3, 2018 at 01.40 pm
Indian driver wins Dh12m in Abu Dhabi raffle

He will share the winnings with four other friends.

What will you do first if you win big at a raffle? For this humble winner from south India, switching from a basic phone to a smartphone is the top priority.

Big Ticket Abu Dhabi, UAE: Your ultimate guide to participating

A Dubai-based driver from the south Indian state of Kerala won Dh12 million at the Big Ticket raffle on Tuesday. And John Varughese, the winner, thought it was a late April Fool's Day prank by a friend.

Varughese received a call from the organisers after the draw had taken place at the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

"I couldn't believe that I could get lucky. April Fool's Day had just passed by and I thought it was some friend pulling my leg. I also had doubts if this was a fake call as you read about lot of scams happening," a beaming Varughese said over phone.

"Even though it was confirmed but I still took a while before calling my family back in Kerala. This is surreal and the new feeling of being a winner is slowly sinking in," said the new multi-millionaire.

"I started purchasing tickets since last one year or so. At times I would buy on my own. This money will be shared with another four friends, who had pooled in to buy the winning ticket 093395."

It was by 2016-end that Varughese landed in Dubai from Aranmula town of Pathanamthitta district and started working as a driver for a private company in Dubai.

So, will he shift base to Kerala with his jackpot?

"No, I will continue to work here. Dubai has made me what I am today. This day happened because I am working here in Dubai. I have a small family with wife and two children. I will now invest in their future. There is no better way to make use of this money than to invest in education," he noted, adding that his daughter is now in Grade 12 and son in Grade 5.

"I am here after facing lot of hardships. I will set aside a portion to help the needy too as I shouldn't forget my past days," Varughese added.

So, how is going to celebrate this occasion?

"I haven't planned yet. We friends will get together and plan," he said in a modest tone.

However, the first thing he would want to do is switch from his basic phone to a smartphone.



Indian driver wins Dh12m in Abu Dhabi raffle (KT1502943.PNG)

The winners were announced on their Facebook page.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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