Out of frying pan into fire for Indian restaurant

The owners of Paprika restaurant say that Stanmore Bay Cottage is still in the hands of people associated with the Masala chain. The property was fenced off to prevent the restaurant from trading on July 28.

A founder of the disgraced Masala chain of Indian restaurants is holding the keys of Stanmore Bay Cottage, according to the owners of Paprika restaurant, who leased premises there.

The historic cottage, at 195 Brightside Road Stanmore Bay was, until recently, owned by JKK Holdings; this company and its director, Supinder Singh, were both respondents in the High Court case brought by the Crown against the Masala chain. It was sold last month by the Official Assignee for $1.73 million as part of a court settlement to recoup funds that Masala gained unlawfully from tax evasion.

However, Paprika Restaurant owners Bob and Anu Konar say that although the new owner is GNG Investments NZ (sole director Hakam Gill) – a company that was incorporated just last month – in effect it remains in the hands of the Masala founder, Rupinder Singh Chahil.

The couple says that under their lease with JKK Holdings, Mr Chahil always dealt with them and described himself as their “landlord”. After the property was sold, Mr Chahil and Mr Gill, who is an Australian resident, served a trespass notice on the Konars and erected a fence preventing them from accessing the restaurant.

The Konars say they have a lot of personal property at the site, which they have not been able to retrieve and they are seeking legal advice about this along with issues associated with their lease.

Mr Konar says that Mr Chahil and Mr Gill indicated they will provide a new lease for Paprika and supply the keys to the property, but to date have not done so.

“When we met them, Rupinder Chahil did all the talking,” the Konars say. “There is no doubt who is pulling the strings.”

Mr Chahil was sentenced to six months home detention last October and ordered to pay $2500 in reparation after pleading guilty to providing false or misleading information to an immigration officer.

Hibiscus Matters’ attempts to contact Mr Chahil for comment were unsuccessful.


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