Two friends from India, Pinto Paul Thommana and Francis Sebastian, staying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have won $1 million in Dubai’s Duty Free Millennium Millionaire draw at Dubai International Airport on Tuesday.
Thommana, 36, who hails from Kerala works as a foreman at an automotive workshop in Sharjah and his friend Sebastian, an employee of Arabian Automobiles, will be splitting the jackpot prize as they had equally shared the cost of the ticket.
"Thank you Dubai Duty Free for this amazing surprise! This will certainly go a long way for the two of us," said Thommana.
Sebastian, who had purchased the ticket five times in the past but never won used to prank his mother in Kerala that he’d won. This time, she did not believe him. "It was only after a friend called and convinced her, that she came to terms with it," he said.
The immediate plans of both the friends is not clear immediately, they want to continue working in UAE for now. "There are no plans of going back to India as of now. We will stay here," said Thommana to Gulf News.
This is the third incident since January that Indian expatriates have won the jackpot or lottery in UAE. In January, an Indian expatriate also became a multi-millionaire after winning 12 million dirhams in the biggest-ever raffle prize money in Abu Dhabi. Again in the first week of April, a Dubai-based Indian driver won a jackpot by winning 12 million dirhams in a raffle.
The driver, John Varughese, who has been working in Dubai as a driver since 2016, won the amount at the Big Ticket raffle held at the Abu Dhabi International Airport on Tuesday. Varughes said he would share prize money with four of his friends and "invest it in his childrens’ future."