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Dispute with landlord puts ‘Khan Chacha’ off Khan Market patrons’ menu

Biting into succulent pieces of chicken tikkas or seekh kababs at Khan Chacha in Khan Market is now out of your menu.

Written by Debesh Banerjee | New Delhi |
October 13, 2009 12:49:41 am

Biting into succulent pieces of chicken tikkas or seekh kababs at Khan Chacha in Khan Market is now out of your menu. The 37-year old landmark eatery in the cobbled middle lanes of the market has abruptly downed its shutters.

“We were asked to leave by our landlord last Thursday and did not even get a month’s notice to look for other arrangements,” said Saleem Hasan,27,younger of the two brothers running the outlet since 1996. “We were asked to clear out within two days and hand over the keys. There has been a disagreement about how we should operate the shop.”

The brothers were assisted from time to time by their ailing father Haji Banda Hasan,60.

In the past,the eatery which was named ‘Khan Chacha’ after popular demand in 1996,has changed locations three times in Khan Market — all due to lease disagreements. They moved to their last address — 75,Khan Market — in 2002 after being evicted out of 36-B by the landlord.

After the last move,the brothers did not sign any written agreement with their landlord,Rajeev Goel,who licensed the property under Goel Foods,Hasan said. “There was a verbal understanding (with Goel) that we would pay a monthly rent of Rs 40,000. But despite paying timely rent we do not understand the reason for eviction,” said Hasan,still clearing out his belongings on Monday.

Goel offered his own version: “They never paid rent as they were employees with Goel Foods. I told them about my plans to open franchises (but) they disagreed and cleared out their belongings within a day.”

Goel recently opened an air-conditioned 700 square feet franchise outlet with proper seating in South Delhi’s Satya Niketan,retaining the name ‘Khan Chacha’. “I have rights to the name and I can choose to open as many outlets as I wish,” he said. “I am ready to make them partners on profit-sharing basis.”

Goel will begin construction of a two-storey Khan Chacha restaurant in Khan Market.

Patrons,meanwhile,are left baffled. “It was a convenient hangout to catch up on gossip and get tasty non-vegetarian food. We hope this issue gets resolved soon,” said Nidhi Ahluwalia,25,a sales executive and frequent visitor.

As the stand-off continues,Hasan has decided not to pursue the matter further. “I have never seen a courtroom and I do not want to file a case,” he said,looking after his father at their two-room Minto Road apartment.

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