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Dubai-based hotelier S P Singh Oberoi, who was instrumental in securing the release of 17 men convicted for the murder of a Pakistani in UAE, had earlier saved the lives of 37 people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and India in similar cases.
He is now fighting for the release of four Nepali nationals. Till date, he claimed to have saved 54 lives. "Though I am a Punjabi by birth, I never discriminated when it came to saving lives. Among those I saved from going to the gallows included even Pakistanis," Oberoi, who was born in Nangal in 1956, said. "There were two Pakistani nationals I saved from death last year in a murder case. They, and eight Punjabis, had no means to pay blood money."
After getting a diploma in mechanical engineering in 1976, Oberoi worked at Pandoh Dam for a salary of Rs 392. "My father was upset with me for not pursuing higher studies. But I was adamant. I decided to leave home with about Rs 250 in my pocket and my father gave me Rs 1,000," Oberoi said. He then moved to Salal Dam in J&K and worked there for six months.
Soon after he went to Dubai and worked as a mechanic for three years. He returned to India but only to go back in 1993. He started a spare parts and hydraulic equipment business. In 1996, he ventured into construction and diversified into hotel business in 1998. In 2004, he entered real estate.
"I consider myself an accountant of God and issue cheques as per God's will to secure the release of people," Oberoi said.