Indian expat in Kuwait wins Dh15million in Abu Dhabi Big Ticket draw
Ratheesh Reghunathan (second from right standing) along with six other colleagues who are among the 12 winners who will share the Dh15million prize. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Lady luck could not have smiled at a better time on Ratheesh Regunanthan, an Indian expat in Kuwait, who won the first prize in Dh15m Abu Dhabi Big Ticket draw on Sunday.

The 42-year-old father of four is serving his notice period and had bought the lucky ticket no 291593 along with 11 other colleagues who are among the last ones to leave their company by April 30, Ratheesh told Gulf News from Kuwait.

He said he worked as a local buyer in the procurement section of a Korean construction company in Kuwait. “Five years ago, our company had said the project we were working on was their last in Kuwait. We have finished the project and most of the employees had left. We are the last 12 people remaining,” he said.

Hailing from the south Indian state of Kerala, Ratheesh said he and his colleagues had been taking Big Ticket for several years.

“When we took this ticket, we knew it was going to be our last ticket together. We knew we won’t be together again next month. We hoped to win at least the weekly draw. But we never imagined we will hit this jackpot.”

“Maybe, God heard us talking. This is God’s gift for us. We were all worried about our future as all of us are living here with our families. We were worried about our children’s education. We were confused about what to do next.”

He said he had already called all his colleagues and they were on the way to his residence.

Though he said the mega prize will change his life, an emotional Ratheesh said with his voice choking: “I still don’t know the actual amount that I won...all I want to say now is I will first build a house for my sister who is facing financial difficulties.”

Earlier, when the show's host Richard called him up to say he is the winner, a surprised Ratheesh asked, "really?" followed by a series of "Thank you.

"I am really happy about this," he said, and asked if he needed to come down to Abu Dhabi to claim his prize.

Missing winner of Dh250,000 picks Dh1m winner

Sunday’s draw, which began 30 minutes later at 8pm due to Ramadan, also saw the Big Ticket tracking down a missing winner of Dh250,000 from a previous draw. Sreedharan was chosen as the winner from all those who had bought Big Ticket from January till December 2021, the Big Ticket organisers said.

“We had given a second chance for all the ticket holders to enter a special draw,” one of the organisers told Gulf News.

However, Sreedharan could not be contacted when the draw was held in January 2022, following which the organisers sought help from the viewers of the draw.

Sreedharan had left the UAE for India and was traced down with the help of a Malayalam TV channel, Richard said.

Participating in the draw on Sunday, Sreedharan said he had not come to know about winning the prize. He also picked the winner of the second prize Dh1million. The winner of the ticket no 171563 was his compatriot Sajeesh Kuruppath.