Days after winning 3-year court battle against McDonald's JV, 91-yr-old dies

Aug 31 2013, 02:15 IST
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SummaryFast food giant shows the door to JV boss, company to appeal against Khan Market eviction order

Days after its joint venture company was directed by Delhi High Court to vacate a three-storey building in Khan Market where it had overstayed its lease, McDonald’s India on Friday relieved Vikram Bakshi, managing director of Connaught Plaza Restaurants Limited (CPRL), of his duties.

“McDonald’s India hereby informs the general public that Mr Vikram Bakshi has ceased to be the Managing Director of Connaught Plaza Restaurants Private Limited, pursuant to the expiration of Mr Bakshi’s term as Managing Director on 17th July 2013,” a public notice put out by the company stated. It added that CPRL is now being managed by its Board of Directors.

The CPRL is McDonald’s India’s joint venture company and runs McDonald’s restaurants at different locations in north and east India.

But 91-year-old Niamat Kaur, who took on the fast food giant single-handedly, wasn’t there to witness this — she passed away on August 18.

“For her, it wasn’t just about property or money, it was a fight for proof and honesty. Today, McDonald’s put out a public notice giving CPRL a vote of no-confidence. She would have been happy to see that there’s still a place for ethics in this world,” Jasjit Singh Anand, Niamat’s son who assisted her in the legal battle, told Newsline.

For three years, Niamat had fought to reclaim the Khan Market property — the nine-year lease deed ran out in February 2010. She stood vindicated when the court not only penalised CPRL for overstaying at the property, but also directed it to pay Rs 11 lakh monthly rent from the date of expiry of the deed to that of handing over of property. It also gave the company eight weeks from the date of judgement — July 1, 2013 — to vacate the property.

“I agree with the argument... that Mr Vikram Bakshi, Managing Director of the petitioner company, is aware about the actual rent in Khan Market. Even he lives in Jor Bagh. He is running 117 restaurants in prime areas of India. He has real estate business also. Therefore, it is not believable that the petitioner is not aware about the market rent of the Khan Market area,” Justice Manmohan Singh ruled.

Born in Peshawar, Niamat Kaur shifted to India after the Partition. Mother to four daughters and a son, the family stayed for a while in Shimla and Dehradun before deciding to make Delhi their permanent abode. “The government gave her the Khan

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