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Indian businessman hopes to get new lease of life with new insolvency law

Filed on November 19, 2019
Kerala, Indian businessman, new insolvency law, UAE law

(Photo: Alamy)

The 39-year-old from Kerala said when he served a jail term, his family survived on charity.

Indian expat, Shahanaz Babu, has served time in almost all prisons in the UAE. He finished his last term three months ago in August and is still fighting several civil cases filed against him for defaulting on payments to banks and dud cheques.

"I had 24 cases against me. Some cases are still going on. I am a typical example of how a businessman can end up in jail when the businesses run into tough times," Babu, 39, from Kerala told Khaleej Times.

According to him, he came to the UAE 21 years ago and started a general trading business in 2004. Later, he expanded into travel and tourism and events management.

"Things took a downward spiral when some of my customers did not pay me, and in turn, I was unable to fulfil many financial commitments. Security cheques I deposited were presented and I became a defaulter," claimed Babu.

What followed was years of financial struggle and soon Babu found himself in a legal mess. "It was a nightmare. I was getting calls from police stations from across the UAE and I was arrested several times. I was blacklisted and had a travel ban. I haven't been to India for the last 10 years. My wife and two kids were in the UAE and you can imagine what they went through as I was unable to support them."

Babu said when he served a jail term for one and a half years, his family survived on charity.

"Now, I still have two civil cases in Dubai, one personal case in Al Ain and one in Sharjah for non-payment of rent. And because of the ongoing cases, I am unable to restart my business, renew my licences or even sell my vehicles to raise funds," said Babu.

"When there is a civil case against you, it is like your life has come to a standstill. I cannot do any transactions for labour, immigration, bank or the Roads and Transport Authority. My hands are tied and even if I want to close my debts, I cannot."

Babu expressed his hope that with the new insolvency law coming into effect in January 2020, people like him will get a new lease of life. "If this law was in place, I would not have gone through what I did. Now, I see light at the end of the tunnel. With the government support, if I can restructure my loans, I can easily rebuild my business and start afresh," said Babu.

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.

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