Kuwait fire: KG Abraham, MD of NBTC group where deceased Indians worked, was behind a film on migrants

Kerala businessman in Kuwait KG Abraham, who co-produced the film Aadujeevitham that depicted the challenges faced by a Malayali worker in Saudi Arabia and earned ₹150 crore worldwide, was the partner and managing director of the firm in Mangaf where most of the 45 Indians, including 24 from Kerala who died in the massive blaze on Wednesday, worked.

The 69-year-old businessman is one of several businessmen from Kerala who found success in the oil-rich Middle East. (Facebook/NBTC Group)

A Kuwaiti citizen and several foreigners were arrested on Thursday for charges related to causing death and injuries due to negligence in security and safety measures. The public prosecution has begun investigating the fire to understand how it started and what led to the tragic incident. There is no official information yet on the cause of the fire. Some local media suggested it might have started due to a gas leak from the building’s ground floor. The prosecution stated that a special team inspected the fire site and visited hospitals to question those injured in the incident.

At least 49 foreign workers died, and 50 others were injured in a fire at a seven-story building in the southern city of Mangaf, where 196 migrant workers were staying.

Media reports claimed the building was owned by Abraham’s NBTC group, which was established in 1977, currently operates in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It offers services related to engineering and construction, hotels, logistics and retail.

Who is KG Abraham?

KG Abraham hails from Niranam in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. The 69-year-old businessman is one of several businessmen from Kerala who succeeded in the oil-rich Middle East. He was the third child in a farmer’s family and flew to Kuwait in 1976 at the age of 22, Indian Express reported.

With a civil engineering diploma and a strong ambition, he started working at a construction company, Badha and Musairi, for a monthly salary of 60 dinars. Seven years later, Abraham became a partner in NBTC (Naser Mohamed Al-Baddah & Partner Trading and Contracting Company) with an initial capital of 4,000 dinars.

Initially, NBTC focused on smaller civil construction projects in Kuwait. Eventually, NBTC expanded beyond Kuwait and entered sectors like oil and gas. Starting with 90 employees, it grew into a significant employer in the Middle East, employing 15,000 people, the company’s website states.

Along with NBTC, he heads the KG Group, which produced the renowned film Aadujeevitham. Abraham is also the chairman of Crowne Plaza, a luxury hotel in Kundannoor, Ernakulam, and a partner in KGA Elite Continental Hotel in Thiruvalla. He has invested in real estate projects in Kerala as well, Kerala Kaumudi reported.

He also owns a supermarket chain named Highway Center in Kuwait.

Abraham, known for his charitable activities, had also criticised the current LDF government, stating that the flood relief funds raised from expatriates in 2018 did not reach the intended beneficiaries, The Indian Express reported.

What has NBTC group said so far?

The group said in a press release, “We are in touch with the families of those who lost their lives and those who are injured. We will keep all updated on a regular basis, the true and factual information about the incident. Our team is relentlessly working on all the arrangements needed thereof and assures everyone that we will not spare anything for whatever is needed on our behalf.”

It added that the NBTC would offer “fullest assistance to the families of those who unfortunately lost their lives and to the families of those who are injured. We assure the families of those who are injured that almost all are reported to be stable by hospital authorities.”

“We will pay to the family of every employee who passed away ₹8 lakh. Besides, we will pay out the insurance when the claims are received. We will always be with the families and will offer employment to members in the family and other help,” it further said.

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