Prabhjot Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 13. “Sarbat da Bhalla” (welfare of all) is the motto of 56-year-old Surinderpal Singh Oberoi, a hotelier-turned-philanthropist who has been making it to media headlines not only for securing the release of 17 Indian youths from Sharjah jail but also for his liberal financial help to those in need.
Oberoi, who was born in Nangal, now manages not only Apex Emirates General Trading Llc and a hotel in Dubai but is also the chairman of the Apex Group of Companies.
Much before the release of 17 Indian boys in the Mishri Khan murder case two days ago, Oberoi had visited the homes of most of them and started paying a monthly pension to their families to mitigate their sufferings. Besides, he sponsored parents or spouses to visit convicted persons in Sharjah jail.
Other than these 17 youths, he has also got released so far 33 Indian expatriates who had been languishing in various jails of the UAE. “I have been fully supported by not only the staff of Indian Mission in the UAE but also by certain political bigwigs, including Minister of State for External Affairs Perneet Kaur and former Union Chemical Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.”
Among the beneficiaries has been a girl of Ludhiana who was sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case. Most of the releases secured by him were through payment of blood money to the families of the victims. He would visit the families, convince them for a settlement, pay them the blood money and get the settlement documents ratified by both the Indian and the UAE missions before submitting them to the UAE courts.
“I do not support any unlawful activity,” he reiterates, maintaining that he has been trying to help expatriate workers who had been lured into traps by those running all such illegitimate activities, including bootlegging. Because of shrinking job market and sharp fall in wages, expatriate workers get lured with big financial returns from such activities without ever releasing the implications.