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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Explained: Who is Muchchad Paanwala, the paan seller arrested in a drug case?

Originally, Muchchad Paanwala was Shyamcharan Tiwari who came to Mumbai from Allahabad in the '70s. He sold fruits and vegetables before starting to sell pan at Kemps Corner in 1977.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Updated: January 14, 2021 10:24:26 am
Muchchad Paanwala shop’s co-owner Ramkumar Tiwari. (Express photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

Ramkumar Tiwari, one of the brothers who owns the Muchchad Paanwala paan shop in south Mumbai, was arrested by the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) on Tuesday in a drug-related case.

Who is Muchchad Paanwala whose name has cropped up in the drug case?

Originally, Muchchad Paanwala was Shyamcharan Tiwari who came to Mumbai from Allahabad in the ’70s. He sold fruits and vegetables before starting to sell pan at Kemps Corner in 1977. He has four sons and eleven grandsons as per their website. Since Shyamcharan had ‘a moustache so big it touched his ears’, the shop was named after it. Later, his sons and grandsons also sported big moustaches as it became part of the tradition and identity of the store. It is Shyamcharan’s grandson Ramkumar Tiwari who was arrested by the police. He handles the shop for six months while his brother handles it for the second half.

Why did he become so popular?

Over the years, the paan shop attracted a large clientele, including filmstars like Jackie Shroff. It attracted crowds in the evening with several varieties like ‘chocolate paan’, ‘oreo paan’ on offer, much before it became popular at other paan shops in the city. In order to cope up with the demand, they hired more employees, started a website where one could place orders and make one’s own paan as well. The family is also believed to have a Mercedes car and reside in a posh south Mumbai area. Due to their popularity, several other paan shops in Mumbai also modelled themselves after the family sporting large moustaches and calling themselves Muchchad Paanwala.

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Why did the NCB arrest Ramkumar Tiwari?

The NCB had on Saturday arrested three persons, including a British national for allegedly sourcing high-end cannabis-related narcotics from the US. It was during the interrogation of Karan Sajnani, the British national, that the name of Ramkumar cropped up. The NCB said that Sajnani, during interrogation, said that he had kept some of the narcotics at Tiwari’s warehouse where the NCB is believed to have recovered it from. Tiwari is currently in jail custody. The NCB has said it will oppose any bail application filed by Tiwari.

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