Crime and Courts

Atlas Ramachandran out on bail, vows to rise like a phoenix bird

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on June 10, 2018 | Last updated on June 10, 2018 at 06.29 am
Atlas Ramachandran out on bail, vows to rise like a phoenix bird

(KT file)

Terms and conditions attached to his release; not allowed to travel outside of the UAE.

The owner of Atlas Jewellery, M.M. Ramachandran, who was in a Dubai jail for close to three years, has been released on bail, authorities have said. The 75-year-old Malayalee businessman, who is popularly known as Atlas Ramachandran, was jailed in August 2015 for defaulting on multiple loans.

Confirming the news, Indian Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri told Khaleej Times: "We have worked with relevant authorities to facilitate his release, much the same way that we work on a daily basis to provide assistance to so many other Indian nationals who may find themselves in a difficult situation."

A source close to the case revealed that as per the terms and conditions applied to his bail, Ramachandran will not be allowed to travel outside the UAE. "He still owes money to private parties and that has to be resolved," the source said.

The gold tycoon owes Dh550 million in loans to private banks. After long-drawn negotiations backed by political and diplomatic efforts, 22 lending banks signed a standstill agreement in February this year, putting on hold legal proceedings against him.

Though it was widely assumed that his release was imminent, Ramachandran's legal problems were far from over as three private lenders refused to put on hold the cases against him.

In his first media interview after his release to a Malayalam television channel that aired on Saturday, a visibly frail Ramachandran said: "If I had some time to negotiate with the banks, everything would've been much easier.

"I have no malice towards everyone. My life's principle is to face...challenges and not run away from anything."

Speaking of his time in jail, Ramachandran said what bothered him was what his family was going through. "When I was in captivity, I could not speak to my family for over 15 minutes. There were rules for such things.

"I was confident that I would be able to rise from the ashes like a phoenix bird. My wife gave me that strength," Ramachandran said in the interview to Kairali TV. 

Earlier, speaking to Khaleej Times from jail, Ramachandran had said he was not willing to give up hope "even for a minute".

"When I am released, all my energy will be invested into paying off my debts...I have not cheated anyone and I will not let anything mar (my) reputation," Ramachandran said over the phone in a free-wheeling interview. 

In her first ever media interview on June 19 last year, his wife Indira Ramachandran had opened up to Khaleej Times about her struggles to fight for her husband's release and the difficulties she was facing. "I don't even have a steady income to pay my rents. But I have to keep fighting to make sure my husband will soon walk out a free man."

Ramachandran and family claimed they had assets to liquidate and pay off the debts.

Timeline of the case

August 31, 2015: M.M. Ramachandran is detained by police after receiving five complaints against him from 15 banks over bounced cheques worth Dh550 million

September 1, 2015: Dubai Public Prosecution rejects his bail request

September 2, 2015: Atlas Jewellery assures lenders about repayment by liquidating assets in the GCC to settle the liabilities

November 12, 2015: Ramachandran sentenced to three years jail by a Dubai court

February 1, 2018: 22 lending banks agree to sign a standstill agreement, putting on hold legal proceedings against Ramachandran

June, 9, 2018: Authorities confirm Ramachandran is released on bail

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