Abu Dhabi/Riyadh: Eight Keralites have claimed the first prize in the 1 crore dirham Big Ticket Abu Dhabi draw.
The winning ticket is registered in the name of Mohan Kumar Chandradas, a site supervisor with a private company at Najran in Saudi Arabia, who bought it along with seven colleagues.
Mohan Kumar told Malayala Manorama that each of the eight friends pooled 66.25 Saudi riyals to buy the lottery ticket worth 530 riyals. He said the prize money will be split equally.
Mohan Kumar, a native of Alappuzha, has been working in Saudi Arabia for nine years. He was with his present employer for more than a year. His lucky friends are also employed with the same company in different branches.
Vineesh Balan from Perumbadappu near Malappuram, Sasidharan Lanjith from Arpookara near Kottayam, Shyam Sundar from Vaduthala near Kochi, Bhaskaran Rabeesh from Perumbadappu near Malappuram, Suraj Aryad from Alappuzha, Arun Das P V from Palakkad and Jithu Baby from Nedumbasseri are the others in the group, who will split the Rs 19.82 crore bounty.
Mohan Kumar said all of them had pressing financial needs and they had been trying their luck for some time.
"This is the third time that we are buying a ticket collectively. Eight families benefit from this prize. We have not decided yet what to do with the money," he said.
His wife Ambili and son Ardrav Krishna are in Kerala.
Six other Indians are among the winners. Akhish Puthiyedathu from Kerala won a jeep as prize.
Keralite wins $1 million
Meanwhile, another Keralite based in Sharjah won the $1 million first prize in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire promotion draw at the Dubai International Airport.
Vinod Kurian, a 49-year-old hailing from Kechery in Kottayam, became a richer by a million dollars with his ticket number 2052 in series 325.
A father of two, Kurian bought his ticket when he travelled to Kerala for a holiday.
Kurian, who is working in Sharjah for 21 years, is a regular participant of the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire promotion for over four yeas now and is the 159th Indian national to have won a million dollars since its inception in 1999, the Khaleej Times reported.
Kurian is a manager at a construction company in Sharjah and his wife Shani is a nurse at a private hospital in Ajman.