A spicy relationship between rival Queenstown curry houses has led to a government investigation.
Former Canterbury cricketer Anup Nathu has reported long-time local Krishna Shetty to the Companies Office.
Nathu, who owns Tandoori Palace on Shotover Street, says Shetty’s acting as manager of nearby Boliwood Indian restaurant and as a shadow director of the firm that owns it.
That’s despite being disqualified from running a business after his Freiya’s Indian restaurant went under in 2014.
Companies Office confirms it’s investigating.
But Shetty says the claims aren’t true. He works shifts as a chef at the restaurant owned by his wife, he says, and Nathu’s stirring trouble as a business tactic.
“They’re only next door and we’ve had nothing but trouble since we started,” Krishna Shetty says.
“They want everything for themselves.
“We had a good relationship with tour groups. They’d say ‘one night with you, one night next door and one at the Mexican’.
“But Tandoori complain to them, you know, saying our food is not good.”
Boliwood opened about six months ago, two doors away from Tandoori Palace. Boliwood’s owned by wife Neeta Shetty’s company Omsy Foods Limited.
Tandoori’s lawyer, Tony Giles at Saunders & Co, complained to Companies Office in September.
Giles says it’s “misleading” of Neeta Shetty to say she manages the restaurant as she works full-time for Queenstown’s council as a development contribution officer.
“The reality is Mr Shetty is the manager and shadow director of the company,” the letter says.
The lawyer’s letter alleges Krishna Shetty negotiated with the landlord, real estate agent, tour group providers and contractors who fitted out the restaurant.
Shetty, whose ban expires in October 2019, says that’s not true.
Abhishek Werma is employed as manager, he says, and Neeta Shetty no longer works for council.
“She works on this business.”
Giles also wrote to the council in September, claiming Neeta Shetty had a potential conflict of interest, after apparently asking another staffer about signage.
She promised “the best curry when you come to Queenstown”.
Then council boss Adam Feeley dismissed that as a “casual remark” and was satisfied “nothing untoward” had occurred.
Nathu didn’t respond to a request for comment before Mountain Scene’s deadline.
Krishna Shetty says Freiya’s went under because of high rent.