Three years after Indian businessman and founder of Atlas Group, MM Ramachandran was jailed in Dubai, he has reportedly been released from prison.
Khaleej Times reported quoting officials that Ramachandran, who was jailed in Dubai for financial fraud, was released on bail.
"He (Ramachandran) has been released from jail on bail. He still owes money to private parties and that has to be resolved," KT quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Though Malayalam channels confirmed that Ramachandran had been released, it is unclear on what terms he has been let off a few months before his jail term was set to end.
The Indian jeweller, who is popularly known by the name Atlas Ramachandran, was sentenced to 3 years in prison in August 2015.
Apart from his brief stint as an actor in Malayalam films, Atlas Ramachandran is also known to Keralaites for his unique voice in ads of his brand 'Atlas.'
He was arrested in August 2015, and two months later, sentenced to three years in prison by a Dubai court. The Atlas group had taken loans up to Dh 550 million (appr Rs. 1000 crore) and the sentence came in a case in which two cheques were not honoured by the company.
Did Indian government help?
In February this year, BJP MLA from Nemom, O Rajagopal told TNM that he had asked the Ministry of External Affairs to intervene and was hopeful that Ramachandran would be released fast.
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.
Rajagopal, during a visit to Dubai, had met the NRI association, who had asked for his help.
"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 Union minister Sushma Swaraj," Rajagopal had 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.
History of Atlas group
Atlas Group opened its first jewelry showroom in Kuwait in 1981 and over the years, Founder and Chairman MM Ramachandran became popular in Kerala and abroad.
Amongst Malayalis, 79-year-old Ramachandran is fondly known as the man who appears in the jewellery's advertisements, vouching for the empire he had built.
"Atlas Jewellery. Janakodikalude vishwastha sthapanam," (Atlas Jewellery. The company crores of people trust")- Ramachandran would look straight into the camera and aptly deliver his lines at the end of the commercial.