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'Absconding' after salary cut, Hyderabad engineer clears loan from abroad

Sunday April 29, 2012 10:21:01 AM, News Desk

Azam Khan cleared his loans - three years after absconding from Dubai.

(Photo: Gulf News)

Malegaon: In a rarest of rare case, an Indian civil engineer, who left a trail of debts in Dubai in 2009 after his salary was cut drastically, sets example by clearing Dh300,000 in loans three years after absconding from Dubai.

Azam Khan (35) joined the band of runaways in November 2009 without getting his end-of-service pay or his residence visa cancelled after his recession-hit employer cut his salary following a five-year stint with the company, according to Gulf News.

He restarted paying instalments in January 2010 from his home state of Hyderabad, India.

After he hightailed it from Dubai, Khan hurriedly put his house on distress sale at Rs2.5 million (about Dh200,000) and sent his wife and two pre-school children back to his mother in another part of the city. "I lost big time in that sale, but that was the best I could get, given the situation."

Khan's story stands out in stark contrast to the hundreds of insolvent expatriates who either simply vanished or joined hundreds of others in debtors' jail in the aftermath of the economic crunch.

The father of two said he decided to leave the UAE because his salary after the pay cut fell short of his needs. "I had to make a tough choice: go to jail or pay from outside."

Khan used to earn Dh15,000 as a construction engineer, but his salary was reduced to Dh12,500, while his loan payments amounted to Dh12,100 a month.

When times were good and cash was easy, Azam bought a four-bedroom house in Alibagh, Hyderabad, with a Dh250,000 loan he took from a Dubai bank.

He used to maintain two credit cards.

Khan said he kept in constant touch with his Dubai lenders and also paid them regularly from Doha, where he later found a job building schools.

"Now I stay away from loans and we try to live within our means," he said.

Khan said he has not gone back to the UAE and is unsure whether his name is cleared. "I have no idea if a claim against me is still pending. What I know is I did not take my gratuity and other dues from my previous company till now."

Khan does not hide his misgivings about banks: "When I offered to pay my loans, the banks gave me no discount or any sort of relief, saying I was not terminated. They simply told me to continue paying the instalments," he said.

Khan completed all loan payments and showed to XPRESS clearance letters issued by four banks — Noor Islamic, RAK Bank, Arab Bank and First Gulf Bank. One bank confirmed that the clearance letter was genuine, but others declined to comment.

"Honesty is still the best policy. The lesson for me is: if you borrow from someone, do everything you can to return it. Show your love for the place where you make a living", Gulf News quoted Khan as saying.




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