Jailed gold tycoon M.M. Ramachandran aka Atlas Ramachandran could soon walk out a free man.
All 22 lending banks in the UAE have signed a standstill agreement putting on hold the legal proceedings against him, diplomatic sources close to the case told Khaleej Times.
Three private lenders have also agreed to put on hold the cases against Ramachandran, who is currently serving a three year jail term.
The only hurdle left for the Keralite businessman’s release is a Delhi-based private jeweller who is yet to sign a standstill agreement.
“We are meeting the party in Delhi on Thursday. It is very crucial for Ramachandran. If they agree to the terms, he can be released any time,” said a source close to the case.
Ramachandran’s wife Indira was not immediately available for a comment.
According to legal sources, Ramachandran would be released for three years on condition that he will not leave the UAE till he clears his dues.
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“Ramachandran’s wife had written a letter to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government seeking help to secure her husband’s release. Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had directly intervened and if things work out, he will be a free man in a matter of days,” said a BJP source.
The 75-year old Ramachandran has been languishing in jail in Dubai since August 23, 2015 in cases related to bounced cheques. The businessman who had become a household name in Kerala and abroad, had taken loans up to Dh550,000. He was sentenced to three years jail after he failed to honour two cheques.
In her first-ever media interview on June 17, 2017, Indira told Khaleej Times about her desperate struggle to get her husband out of jail.
“I am living in constant fear of getting jailed as some banks have initiated civil proceedings against me, too. I don’t even have a steady income to pay my rents. But I have to keep fighting to make sure my husband will soon walk out a free man,” said Indira, who is staying in an apartment in Dubai.
“He is an honest man and had enjoyed immense goodwill in the market for the last three decades. But being held in prison, he is unable to talk to the prospective buyers to liquidate the assets and pay back debts,” said Indira. “It is my earnest wish he be given a humanitarian consideration,” said 68-year old Indira.
“If Ramachandran walks out free, it would be the result of a collective effort of diplomats, BJP government and so many of his well-wishers. And all the more, due to his wife’s prayers,” said a family friend.