Dubai: A Dubai-based Indian businessman has gone missing in Yemen, sparking concern among his family and friends.
Suresh Kumar Krishna Pillai, 59, originally from Kerala, was on a business trip to the war-torn country, but disappeared within days of landing in Aden on July 2. He was last heard of just two days later.
“I have been spending sleepless nights wondering about what has happened to my father, I just hope he’s safe,” said Pillai’s son Jithin, who has rushed to Dubai from Thiruvananthapuram to take stock of the situation.
“My mum isn’t even aware that dad is missing. I don’t know how she’s going to take this news,” he added.
Pillai’s friend and business partner Shivadasan Valappil, 64, said he has also exhausted all leads.
I have been spending sleepless nights wondering about what has happened to my father, I just hope he’s safe.
“Pillai called me from Sana’a at around 10.30am on July 4, saying his meeting went well. That was the last time he was seen or heard of again,” said Valappil, a long-time Dubai resident, who is the managing director of a company called Infinity Global Loyalties.
Flight ticket details accessed by Gulf News show Pillai reached Yemen via Sudan on July 2.
He flew to Khartoum from Dubai on July 1 before taking a Queen Bilqis Airways flight to the port city of Aden the following afternoon.
According to Valappil, Pillai had gone to Yemen to secure a loan which he hoped would fund a massive Ethanol (alcohol fuel) manufacturing plant that the businessman was trying to set up in Belgaum in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka.
“It’s a multimillion dollar project sprawling over 140 acres. The plant was nearing completion but as luck would have it, Pillai ran out of funds and the plant was declared a non performing asset by Indian banks. Left with no choice, he was forced to look elsewhere for funding,” said Vallapil.
“Of late, Pillai was in touch with some private parties in Yemen who offered him a mortgage loan,” Vallapil added.
“Shortly after Pillai pledged his property documents with them, the private parties sent him documents showing a bank account had been opened in his name with a deposit of Dh67 million. Pillai was then called to Yemen to complete certain formalities and release the funds. I don’t know what went wrong but I am not getting a good feeling about this,” added Valappil.
Meanwhile, Pillai’s son has made a desperate appeal to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help find his father.
“Please save my father! He’s stuck in Sana’a, Yemen,” said Jithin in a tweet to Modi and India’s Ministry of External Affairs. “He’s an industrialist and a businessman in Dubai. We are from Thiruvananthapuram. Please help us to bring him back. We need immediate action,” the tweet added.
Pillai also has a daughter who is married and living in Dubai.