Shilpa Shetty's curry chain faces 6 mn pounds lawsuit

Shilpa Shetty's curry chain faces 6 mn pounds lawsuit

Jamal Hirani, 42, founder of the fast-food chain Tiffinbites, is claiming unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal and is seeking more than 1.5 million pounds from the group, according to Eveninger London Lite.

Hirani is also understood to be preparing a High Court action seeking upto six million pounds, based on the 30 per cent stake he earlier owned in the company. Hirani was the Chief Executive Officer and director of Gourmet Restaurants Limited, which owns Tiffinbites. In late 2008 the company was apparently in financial difficulties, and in December 2008 Hirani was suspended by the directors pending an independent investigation of the cause of the difficulties.

Gourmet Restaurants today said that the company was successfully purchased by V8G in 2009 after its funders, ICICI Bank, withdrew their support and prepared to put the company into pre-packaged administration.

Later in 2009, Shilpa and fiance Raj Kundra joined the company as investors, buying 33 per cent stake in it. Alleging that he was forced out to make way for Shilpa, Hirani said: "This ultimately was my company. I learn since I left Shilpa Shetty has invested in the business. The business was valued at 20 million pounds, which I find highly surprising given that in January the value was zero."

A spokesman for Shilpa Shetty said: "The case refers to events that happened before Shilpa and Raj joined." Gourmet Restaurants said under the new management, the businesses have traded successfully ever since. "V8G inherited the employees, including Hirani... Having taken and followed advice throughout from specialist employment consultants, V8G has defended his claims," it said.

"V8G is backed primarily by investors unconnected with the old company. As successors to the businesses they have inherited many employees from restaurant staff to senior managers. The only employment claim has been that made by Hirani. It said V8G cannot comment on the pending proceedings whilst the hearing was in progress and the decision of the tribunal was awaited.

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