This post was originally published on 23 August 2015.
A Dubai-based Indian businessman has come forward to provide financial assistance to help the release of debt-ridden Indian prisoners who have been imprisoned for unpaid debts.
Firoz Merchant, Founder and Chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, joined a charitable drive by the Consulate General of India (CGI) Dubai to provide relief to imprisoned Indians who have appealed for help on humanitarian grounds.
As part of the drive, five prisoners have been currently released from Merchant’s financial assistance. An amount of over $20,000 was donated to settle the debts of these prisoners.
“We have always supported CGI initiatives to help the underprivileged and now we have extended our help to those in prison for unpaid debts. The release of these five prisoners is the first step,” Merchant said.
“Many Indians come to the UAE with big dreams and they prosper in this land but there are others who get trapped in financial crisis due to unfortunate circumstances often out of their control,” he said.
Merchant said the Indian Consulate evaluated the cases of those who appealed to them for help in settling financial debts and they bear the expenses for their release.
Each of the released prisoners had a story to tell on how they entered into debt. Anurag Bhushan, Consul General of India, Dubai said they were were moved by the stories of these prisoners who were victims of unfortunate circumstances.
“Along with them, their families also had to suffer as they were unable to clear the debts. As the first phase of this drive, we would be looking at deserving cases of prisoners who have debts below $2,000,” Bhushan said while appreciating the warm gesture of Indian businessman.
Merchant is a well-known business leader in the Middle East. He was ranked 26 on the Forbes Middle East List of Indian Owners 2014. Arabian Business placed him at 28 on its 2014 Richest Indians in the GCC list with an estimated net worth of $435 million.