Market Rasen’s award-winning and popular curry House, the Gate of India, plans to fight West Lindsey District Council to regain its premises license, which the council revoked after finding the restaurant was employing illegal immigrants.
This afternoon, the curry house in King Street issued a statement outlining its version of events.
The restaurant hit back at reports based on earlier statements from the police, both before and after a private council meeting this week, which sought to remove the restaurant’s premises license and would prevent the sale of alcohol.
The restaurant had made brief comments before the Wednesday hearing which raised the potential prospect of closure, leading to upset from curry house customers.
But this afternoon The Gate of India said it would continue to serve Market Rasen.
“The Gate of India will not be closing down and we will be continuing to run the business 7 days a week, everything is running normally,” the restaurant posted on the Rasen Mail’s Facebook page.
“Sadly when Mr Rafi Kamaly passed away, the business was in a daunting position for the family. At the time we needed staff to be covered as soon as possible as some of the family members had to go overseas with the deceased body. One worker had approached the business owner in Scunthorpe because of our vulnerable state. He asked for work which he knew we were short staffed. The owner asked if he could fulfil a temporary position by meeting the job requirements and legal requirements. The worker had also recommended he knew two more people who were after temporary work and the owner forwarded it to the manager.
“We took them on a trial basis however sadly on the week of the trial. We encountered immigration at The Gate of India, after making checks they had discovered the three workers were illegal, who were replacement for staff going overseas. The nephew (Manager) at that time was organising the burial overseas for his uncle who passed away. He was not present at the business and he would make checks after he had organised the funeral the following week.
“Before hand, the manager agreed a verbal contract with the temporary workers stating that “based on the performance and the valid documentation provided he would accept them to work until the family members come back from overseas, which the three workers agreed & confirmed that they had the relevant documents and skills to work.”
“However the paper stating this: “Ablution facilities appeared to be provided by the facilities on the floor below which were obviously there for customers and there did not appear to be any shower or bathing facilities available on site.
“It is accepted that the basic provisions were available in terms of shelter, heat, toilet facilities and running water although to the absolute minimum required.”
“They did not stay in the premises as they lived locally in Lincolnshire but the immigration assumed that they were living in the property as this was not the case because they had no relevant evidence in place as they could not provide this in the hearing.
“However they did find beds which are for the owner’s purposes to rest.
“Taking into consideration for Friday and Saturday, we feed over 200 customers so therefore preparation in advance is required for fresh produce and marinating to take place.
“We love our community and have been running for 13 years nearly, we love providing the best food and service to you at all times, however West Lindsey Council are trying to take our licence off, but this will not be the case as we are appealing and we will fight to retain our licence as this is our customers enjoyment and therefore we want them to have the best service and experience at The Gate of India.
“Doesn’t everyone make mistakes like the council members, “a Market Rasen town councillor resigned last week, was found guilty of conspiracy to evade payment.” And “West Lindsey Council is going through a crisis with serious charges of potential fraud and mismanagement brought to our door in 2009.” It is evident that people who we have trust in, can even deceive us.
“In future the Gate of India, will take precautions for future employment because of our situation we could not fulfil this requirement because we lost a valuable member to us. We are a law abiding business and have been for 13 years and some of our fellow customers will feel betrayed however we do apologise sincerely to our community,” the statement concluded.
West Lindsey District Council also issued a statement earlier today.
“The council’s licensing committee decided to revoke the Gate Of India’s licence at its meeting on Wednesday.
“This means the restaurant cannot serve alcohol at any time and cannot serve food after 11pm.
“However, it will not come into effect until the end of the appeal period, which is 21 days or until any appeal made is discharged,” it said.