An Isle of Dogs restaurant has kept its premises licence despite pressure from police and Trading Standards officers who called for its closure.
Tower Hamlets’ licensing committee heard how the former owners of Memsaheb On Thames in Amsterdam Road Mridul Kanti Das and Rabiul Hoque owed more than £1million in VAT.
The new owner had employed Das’s estranged wife Gergana to work in the restaurant and police police recommended the licence be revoked completely because they did not the state of relations between the couple.
PC Alan Cruickshank told the committee: “They [previous owners] committed a serious offence. The men are still in prison. I would ask the committee to revoke the licence.”
Mridul Kanti Das and Rabiul Hoque were charged with cheating the public revenue over eight years, eventually owing £1,291,055. Each man was sentenced to seven years in April 2015.
A Trading Standards officer echoed PC Cruickshank’s sentiments, adding: “This was classed as a ‘serious offence’ – a rating which is rarely used on cases like this. It was a criminal operation at the time of the arrests. Can we trust anything this business says?”
Defending new owner Kashfi Kamal, Graham Hopkins told the committee: “This is a completely new enterprise.
“They [previous owners] were sent to prison for seven years, but they have nothing to do with the current owners.”
He explained that the Das marriage was being dissolved and Mrs Das, who now works at the restaurant as an employee, had no contact with her husband.
Neither the police nor Trading Standards had any evidence to present to the committee that showed a link between the former and current owners.
Committee chairwoman Cllr Amy Whitelock Gibbs said: “We have concluded that revocation of the licence would not be proportionate. The two men have gone to prison for their crimes.”