The Kerala-based businessman was jailed after a consortium of banks filed cases against him for defaulting on loan repayment.

Gold bizman Atlas Ramachandran may soon be released from Dubai jail
news Law Thursday, February 01, 2018 - 17:11

Jeweller MM Ramachandran, popularly known as Atlas Ramachandran, who was imprisoned in Dubai for financial fraud, may soon be released thanks to the intervention of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Kerala-based businessman was the founding chairman of Atlas Group – which had jewellery showrooms across India and the UAE. He was jailed in August 2015 after a consortium of banks filed cases against him for defaulting to repay loans. 

The group had taken loans up to 550 million (approximately Rs 1,000 crore) dirhams, but failed to repay the money. The jail sentence has come in one case in which two cheques (for 4 million dirhams and 30 million dirhams) were not honoured.

While 19 of the 22 banks that had filed cases against him had been willing to sign a standstill agreement, three of the banks refused. Now, all the banks have reportedly agreed to withdraw the cases against Ramachandran. 

BJP MLA from Nemom, O Rajagopal told TNM that the development has come after the Centre's involvement. 

He had written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj a few months ago, urging the ministry to intervene in releasing the jailed businessman. 

"When I went to Dubai a few months ago, the NRI association there brought Ramachandran's plight to my notice. I was told that his wife Indira has been trying to get Ramachandran released from jail. Following this, I wrote to Sushma Swaraj," Rajagopal said. 

"According to their laws, a person who is imprisoned cannot sell off his properties or access any documents. So we have asked for his release, so that the family can settle the dues," he added. 

Ramachandran's wife, Indira, had reached out to BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan a few months ago. Speaking to Hindustan Times, he said: 

“We intervened on humanitarian grounds. His wife had approached many, but they refused to help. When she came to us, we took it up with Sushma Swaraj, who intervened immediately. If everything goes well, he will be released in a week's time." 

According to him, the MEA wrote to the banks asking them to settle the cases. Khaleej Times reported on Thursday, that all the 22 banks have agreed to get to a standstill agreement, putting on hold all legal proceedings against Ramachandran. 

However, one of the cases against Ramachandran was filed by an individual based in Delhi and talks are on to convince this person to withdraw the case as well. If all goes well, Ramachandran will soon be released, say reports. 

Also read: The fall of Atlas Ramachandran: His wife Indira opens up in a tell-all interview

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