Dubai Duty Free officials Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO; Ramesh Cidambi, chief operating officer and Sinead El Sibai, senior vice president for marketing, conduct the latest Millennium Millionaire Draw. Image Credit: Supplied

A UAE-based accountant from India woke up to a wonderful news on Tuesday that he just won $1 million in Dubai Duty Free’s Millennium Millionaire draw.

However, he now has to fly back to Kerala before he could get his hands on the prize, as he had left the ticket back home.

Muhamed Aslam Arayilakath, an expatriate based in Sharjah bought a raffle ticket for the airport retailer’s popular millionaire draw when he was travelling to the Indian state for a vacation last month. However, when he went back to the UAE, he didn’t bring the ticket with him.

On Tuesday, he got a call from a Dubai Duty Free representative informing him that his ticket was picked as the winner of $1 million. The 31-year-old, who has been buying raffle tickets for seven years, could not believe his luck.

“I’m literally shaking right now,” Arayikalath said, understandably speechless. Just before he hung up, he said: "Thank you Dubai Duty Free.”

Arayilakath is the 139th Indian national to have won $1 million since the raffle draw started in 1999. He’s been living in Sharjah for 12 years.

He told raffle organisers that he doesn’t have the ticket with him, saying that he had left it with his father during his last visit to India. So, he will fly back to Kerala this week just to pick it up and return to UAE by Sunday.

"I just spoke to my father and I confirmed that the ticket is kept in the safe," the jubilant Arayilakath told Gulf News on the phone.

He said he was not expecting to win this time, that's why he had forgotten about the ticket, but he did tell his father to offer some prayers.

"I personally handed the ticket to my father in front of my mother, and I even told him to offer prayers with it, so that I will hit the jackpot. And it worked," the jubilant Arayilakath told Gulf News on the phone.

Asked what he intends to do with the prize, Arayilakath said he doesn't have definite plans yet. But he intends to buy something nice for his father and bring his entire family to the UAE for a vacation.

A source at Dubai Duty Free said the $1 millioni prize doesn't usually get forfeited in case of the absence of a ticket, as long as the winner constantly updates raffle organisers about the reasons for the delay in presenting the proof.

The draw was conducted by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Ramesh Cidambi, chief operating officer and Sinead El Sibai, senior vice president for marketing.