After news reports that founder chairman of Atlas Group, and movie producer MM ‘Atlas’ Ramachandran was absconding following complaints filed by banks based out of Dubai, a new report says that the jeweler has been arrested by the Dubai police.
According to a report on Khaleej Times, MM Ramachandran has been arrested and was being held in a detention centre in Bur Dubai since August 23. The report says that his daughter too has been detained and lodged in the women’s section of the detention centre.
The Khaleej Times also reported that police have received five complaints against MM Ramachandran, two complaints were lodged at Rafaa police station, two at Naif and one at Bur Dubai.
However, the Atlas chairman's personal assistant Shyam told a Malayam website Azhimukhan that news reports about the arrest were false and Ramachandran had restricted himself to his Dubai house and was not picking calls due to ill health.
He admitted that the group was facing financial trouble, but not to the extent that was being reported.
Another report by ‘Pravasi Shabdam’ claims that Atlas Ramachandran had flown down from Canada to Dubai and was holding talks with banks, the report makes no suggestion of any kind of police action.
Trouble started brewing for the group after around 15 banks operating in Dubai approached the Dubai police complaining that the group had defaulted on loan payments running up to Dh550 million (approximately Rs 1000 crores).
Tawhid Abdullah, chairman of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, of which Atlas is a member of, told Khaleej Times that the trade body was willing to find a solution to the issue.
He added that they believed there was no bad intention on the part of MM Ramachandran and putting him behind bars was not the right way to solve the issue.
"If someone wanted to cheat, he could have left the country months ago. As a group, we are ready to help out a long-time member. There are several solutions. But for all these we need to sit and talk with the banks and the troubled company. ” Tawhid Abdullah
Gulf news reported that the group had invested Dh20-Dh30 million in gold purchases recently. ‘However, sources said inventory levels across the chain have come down appreciably, compelling bankers to question where the recent Dh30 million used, fearing that the finances and assets were being willfully diverted.'
Another news report by the Deccan Chronicle quoted sources in the group saying that they were trying to settling dues by offloading inventory.
About the Atlas group
The very first show room of the Atlas group was opened in Kuwait city in 1981; the group now has almost 50 showrooms across the United Arab Emirates in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Ras Al Khaimah.
In 1987, popular actor Shobana was featured in Atlas's first video advertisement, in 1988, Ramachandran ventured into film production and distribution.
When Iraq occupied Kuwait in 1990, the group incurred losses and moved its headquarters to United Arab Emirates (UAE).
By 1996, Ramachandran had become a substantial player in the gold and jewelry markets in UAE and was elected as the Chairman of the Dubai Shopping Festival's Gold Promotion Committee.