Rahul Kovithala Thazheveettil with his family. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Twenty-five employees of a school transport service company in Al Quoz — most of whom are bus drivers — have collectively won $1 million (Dh3.67 million) in the latest Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire draw.

The draw took place after the awards ceremony of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Men’s final on Saturday, March 20.

Rahul Kovithala Thazheveettil, who bought the ticket on behalf of his colleagues, works as a senior finance officer in the company in Dubai. He could not believe his ears when he got a call from DDF announcing the win. “Usually the announcement comes in the morning. So I was surprised to hear this call. I did not believe it. Today, I got another call and an email and was finally convinced I had won,” Thazheveettil told Gulf News.

The winning ticket was drawn by Russian tennis player and champion of the tournament, Aslan Karatsev, who claimed his maiden Dubai title after defeating Lloyd Harris of South Africa in the finals.

Thazheveettil, 34, won his ticket in the Millennium Millionaire Series 353 with ticket number 4960, which he purchased along with his colleagues online on February 25. He paid Dh100 for the DDF ticket priced at Dh1,000, giving him 1/10th share of the winning amount.

Thazheveettil said he still has not decided what he will do with the money. “I will definitely save quite a bit and give a part to charity.”

12 years in UAE

A regular participant in Dubai Duty Free’s promotion, Thazheveettil has been a resident of Dubai for 12 years. Thazheveettil said: “I’m really surprised and very happy! We regularly buy tickets online and share the ticket cost whenever there’s a new series but to finally received a call from Dubai Duty Free to confirm that we won was unbelievable.”

Thazheveettil, who hails from Kerala in India is the 178th Indian national to win $1 million since the start of the Millennium Millionaire promotion in 1999. Indians make up the highest number of Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire ticket buyers.

Sajeev Kumar TG

Meanwhile, one of the winners sharing the mega prize money is Sajeev Kumar TG from Kerala, who works as a transport foreman at the company. He earns a salary of Dh4,000, so this is big money for him. “I should get about Rs2.5-2.6 million and this is big for me,” he told Gulf News. “I will share this with some poor people back home. And some will go towards making my house. I feel blessed and happy right now.”

Aslan Karatsev was accompanied at the Millennium Millionaire draw by Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Colm McLoughlin, Ramesh Cidambi, COO, Salah Tahlak, Executive Vice President — Corporate Services and Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President — Marketing.