A 52-year-old businessman from Rajapur ordered Surmai fish at Mast Malvani hotel located on Mumbai-Goa highway, Mahad Taluka of Raigad District. He complained about a different low quality fish resembling surmai served by the hotelier. To complain about the cheating he approached the Mahad city police in Raigad. The police booked the hotelier for violating the lockdown restriction imposed by the government.
The police said the complainant identified as Farooq Abdulla Sakharkar, 52, is a businessman and ex-sarpanch based from Rajapur Taluka in Ratnagiri District. Sakharkar usually travels from Rajapur to Mumbai for business related work. On Saturday, June 26, the complainant along with his nephew Muzzafar Sakharkar, 40, was travelling from Mumbai to Rajapur.
In his complaint to police he allegedly said, "Usually after lockdown, we have been avoiding to have food in hotels. But, as I was accompanied by my nephew, we wished to have fish. We saw the hotel open for customers and took a lunch break," said Sakharkar, who has been a fish eater since his childhood days.
Sakharkar further in his complaint to police allegedly said, "It was around 4:30 pm, when we ordered two surmai plates costing Rs 410 each. When the waiter served us the dish. I found two pieces of surmai fish. Most of the hotels serve single pieces, as it's expensive seafood. I doubted something was wrong and when I tasted the fish I found it different, which resembles to be like surmai. We complained to the manager and waiter about the cheating, but they were not ready to accept it. We paid them the bill and took the fish as a sample to the police station to file a complaint. The police called the owner Sanjay Chopde, who further called the fish supplier who sold the fish telling it surmai," added Sakharkar in the complaint to the police.
Sakharkar further alleged, "Konkan is turning out to be a tourist place with people from different states and districts coming to eat fish and enjoy the environment. If we locals are cheated in such a way, what about the tourists?. It's not the owner, but the staff who are cheating people for their personal benefits," added Sakharkar.
Pandurang Kapdekar, assistant sub-inspector, Mahad city police station confirmed that a case has been registered against the hotelier for violating lockdown restriction and allowing customers to sit in the hotel. "We have registered a case under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian penal code and sections of disaster management act. He violated the lockdown restriction imposed by the state government. The complainant was the witness for it. Also, the complainant Sarkharkar came with the fish he was served, but we asked him to approach the Food and Drugs Administration who can take action against them," he added.
Sanjay Chopde, the owner of Mast Malvani Hotel, in Mahad Taluka who was also present at the police station and had called the fish supplier to clear the confusion said,"Customers are our God and we serve them the best. We made it clear what the fish supplier gave us was Surmai and we serve them the same."