Navaneeth Sajeevan with his family. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A jobless Indian man has won $1 million in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Draw held on Sunday.

Navaneeth Sajeevan, 30, working in an Abu Dhabi-based company, is currently serving his notice period (his last working day being December 28) after he was made redundant last month due to the pandemic. In an interview to Gulf News, an elated Sajeevan said he had just finished a job interview when he got the cherished call from DDF, informing him of the million dollar win. “It is unbelievable. I feel blessed and happy,” the father of a one-year-old child said.

Sajeevan takes home the mega prize after his winning ticket number was picked from the Millennium Millionaire Series 345, which he had bought online on November 22.

A resident of Abu Dhabi for four years, Sajeevan, said he cannot believe his luck. “I am sharing the prize with four other colleagues and friends. Still I take home $200,000, which is a big amount.”

Sajeevan, hailing from Kasargod district in Kerala, said he had no idea what he wantsed to do with his money. “My wife is still working here. I was planning to head home if I idn’t find a good job. I have loans to the tune of Dh100,000. This win will go towards that. Rest will go into my savings as a back-up for my future.” He is the 171st Indian national to win the DDF mega prize. For the record, Indians make up the highest number of Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire ticket buyers.

December 20 marks the 37th anniversary of DDF and so there was another million dollar winner announced on Sunday. Emirati Abdalla Alteneiji is the other lucky winner, but DDF was not able to reach him at the time of the win. His winning ticket was picked from the series 346, which Alteneiji had purchased online on November 29.

Other winners

Following the Millennium Millionaire, three luxury vehicle winners were given away as prizes at the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise draw. Bahrain-based Indian national Mohammed Aslam Ali, 39, won a Mercedes Benz S560 (Diamond White) car, in Finest Surprise Series 1763, which he had purchased online on December 9. A resident of Manama for five years now, Ali is a father of one and works as a project site manager for a company in Bahrain.

A regular participant in Dubai Duty Free’s promotion for over two years now, Ali was surprised to win another vehicle from Dubai Duty Free as he had  previously won a Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber (Grigio Tempesta) motorbike last November. “This can’t be real. After winning a motorbike in 2019 what were the chances that I will win again after almost a year? Now I cannot wait for the next call from DDF announcing that I won the $1 million and probably be the first one to win all the three prizes from their promotions”, he added.

Dubai-based Indian expat Ravi Jetti, 24, won a Harley-Davidson Sportster Roadster XL 1200CX (Black Denim) motorbike, in Finest Surprise Series 434, which he had purchased online on December 3. A resident of Jebel Ali for five years, Jetti works as an assistant document controller for Shapoorji Pallonji Group in Al Barsha and has been participating in the Dubai Duty Free promotion for three years.

Meanwhile, Austrian national based in Vienna, Manfred Klaubauf, 66, won a BMW S 1000 R (San Marino Blue Metallic) motorbike, in Finest Surprise Series 435, which he had purchased online on November 26. A retiree, Klaubauf had also won a BMW 750Li luxury car in May 2011.

Anniversary draw

Sunday’s draw was conducted following strict social distancing by Dubai Duty Free's Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Colm McLoughlin, Chief Operating Officer, Ramesh Cidambi, Salah Tahlak, Executive Vice President - Corporate Services, and Sinead El Sibai, SVP – Marketing. Also present at the draw were Bernard Creed, SVP – Finance, Mona Al Ali, SVP – Human Resources, Michael Schmidt, SVP – Retail Support, Sharon Beecham, VP - Purchasing and Zayed Al Shebli, VP - Loss Prevention and Corporate Security.

Dubai Duty Free marked its 37th anniversary as it welcomed passengers travelling through Dubai International Airport with a special 25 per cent discount on a wide range of merchandise over three days, which began at midnight on December 18 and ends at midnight tonight, December 20.

Commenting on the 37th anniversary, McLoughlin said: “Despite the difficulties brought about by Covid-19, we have gone ahead with our 37th anniversary celebrations by offering passengers and UAE residents alike the chance to avail of a 25 per cent discount across a wide range of products. This is our way of saying “thank you” to our customers for their continued support during this challenging year.”