Dubai: Rich tributes have been pouring in for a Dubai-based Indian industrialist who died here on Thursday.
Community sources told Gulf News that Joy Arakkal, managing director of Dubai-headquartered Innova Group of Companies, was in his early 50s and is survived by his wife Celine and children, Arun and Ashlyn Joy, who live in Jumeirah.
Arakkal, who built his business empire over two decades, had hit the headlines after he built a 45,000 sq ft mansion, said to be one of the biggest houses in Kerala, in his hometown Mananthavady in Wayanad district.
A UAE Gold Card recipient, Joy’s companies have diversified business including oil refineries, petrochemical trading, ISO tank cleaning services, shipping services and Build Max, a telecom company working for infrastructure projects.
Arakkal had received many awards including a lifetime achievement award from the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan during his visit to Dubai.
Community members said he was also known for his philanthropic activities.
He had stepped forward to support the Aster Homes project for the flood victims in Kerala by donating 2.5 acres of land Wayanad. Around 40 houses were being planned on that land by Aster Volunteers and they were to be named as Aster Arakkal Homes.
Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul told Gulf News that several community members had called him after hearing about Arakkal’s death.
“We are verifying the details [about his death]. Regarding the repatriation of his body, we have advised that it can be done through the cargo flights that are operational for flying mortal remains. The Consulate will facilitate the death registration once the procedures with the local authorities are over,” Vipul said.
Community members remembered Arakkal as a role model in business, who worked hard to build his business empire, and kept strong relationships with the community, especially from those hailing from Wayanad.
“He started off at a young age trading tea and pepper from Wayanad to north India. He experimented and failed in many businesses. But he worked hard, studied many courses and built his empire based in Dubai and he owned many companies back home as well,” said a community member who knew Arakkal well.
“He was kind-hearted and very humble. He had a special love and attachment towards Wayanad and did a lot of charity works silently. He came to the limelight after his palatial house was featured in Malayalam channels as the biggest house in Kerala. Apart from supporting the flood victims in Kerala, he had associated with other CSR activities like mobile screening of people in Wayanad,” he added.
Arakkal had employed several people from his native place in his various companies. His birthday which falls on the UAE National Day was regularly celebrated in a big way by his employees and friends.
“He treated all the employees very well. He would enquire about everyone’s wellbeing and offered his full support. He used to send food to labour accommodations. It is a big loss for our community, especially for those from Wayanad,” one of his employees said.
A comment from Dubai Police is awaited on the exact reason behind the death.