Former winners show up for the latest edition of Big Ticket Draw in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Update: Winner found!

After he went “missing” for several days since last week, the latest winner of the Big Ticket draw in Abu Dhabi has finally been found.

Manekudy Varkey Mathew from India was picked as the winner in the multimillion-dirham jackpot draw on Thursday, but organisers were not able to reach him for days.

It was shortly after Gulf News reported about his case when Mathew finally emerged. Mathew was on vacation in India at the time the draw was held. Organisers were not able to reach him because the phone he was using got broken just after he landed in his home country.

In a quick interview with Gulf News, the elated Mathew, 58, who works as an electrician in Al Ain, said he felt blessed when news of his winning finally reached him, though he didn't expect to hit the jackpot.

"I was a little bit shocked but was happier. I think it's due to the prayers of my family and friends," Mathew said.

The Indian expatriate will split the prize money with two of his colleagues. He had paid half of the ticket cost, while his two work pals shouldered the other half, so he will be taking home Dh3.5 million. 

"I will decide with my family (on what to do with my money) then take a decision," he said when asked about what he intends to do with his new-found fortune..

Original report

Dubai: Organisers of one of the biggest sweepstakes draw in the UAE are searching for clues and seeking assistance to help locate the latest winner of Dh7 million.

The team at Big Ticket Abu Dhabi has been in search of Manekudy Varkey Mathew, believed to be an expatriate from India, since Thursday when the multimillion-dirham jackpot draw was held.

But as of  11 am on Sunday, despite repeated calls, the winner could not be reached and organisers are quite surprised as this has never happened before.

Sweepstakes raffles are quite big in the UAE and draw participants are closely monitoring the results. At Big Ticket, organisers are usually able to speak to the winner in a timely fashion, particularly during the draw.

“We have been unable to get in touch with Mathew since last Thursday. This is the first time it’s happened in the history of the draw,” a source told Gulf News on Sunday.

“He is being contacted since Thursday during and after the draw, but his contact numbers provided in his ticket are unreachable.”

Mathew is believed to be on vacation in Cochin, India. His winning ticket number 024039 was purchased at the airport prior to his departure last August 24.

There were no other contact details provided by the winner, aside from his UAE-issued mobile number and a PO Box in Al Ain.

If Mathew fails to claim his prize on time, his winning ticket might just be relegated to irrelevance, although the money will go to charity.

“At Big ticket, we call the grand prize winner during the draw to let them know that they have won. Help us inform Mr Mathew that he has won Dh7 million,” the organisers said.

“If he doesn’t claim his prize in six months, it will be donated to a charitable institution.”