43 McDonald's outlets operated without valid health licence since April, says Vikram Bakshi
43 McDonald's outlets operated without valid health licence since April, says Vikram Bakshi

American burger chain, McDonald's 43 outlets in the national capital operated for nearly three months from April 1 without valid health licences from local authorities, its estranged India partner, Vikram Bakshi said.

Last month, McDonald's had decided to shut down 43 of the total 55 outlets here due to failure to renew eating house licences.

Bakshi, an equal joint venture partner of McDonald's India Pvt Ltd (MIPL) in Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL) that is the licensee for North and East India regions of the fast food chain, said licences had expired on March 31.

Bakshi told PTI, "From April 1 to June 27, 2017, we did not have any health licence, it's absolutely correct."

He has been at loggerheads with McDonald's since 2013, when he was removed as the managing director of CPRL, and is contesting it at legal forums including London Court of Arbitration.

Bakshi said, "The health licence was necessary to be obtained from local municipal bodies to run the restaurants for water hygiene and proper maintenance of food, among others."

Barry Sum, Director, Corporate Relations, Asia Foundational Markets, McDonald's, declined to comment on the issue.

He said, "We want to focus our efforts on resolving the issues as soon as possible at this moment."

The closed outlets are unlikely to open anytime soon as Bakshi has refused to sign the licensing documents. To renew it, the JV partner and an MIPL-nominated director have to co- sign licence renewal applications.

Bakshi said, "In early March before the licences were to go for renewal, I have clearly stated that because of issues of the food safety and because of us not being actually providing quality and safe food to the customers, I no longer intend to sign (to apply for renewal of) the licences."

Sum said, "The current situation is the result of our former JV partner's refusal to co-sign the licence renewal applications with an MIPL-nominated director, which were the protocols previously approved by the CPRL board."

He said, "The restaurants will re-open when the required licences have been obtained."

He further added, "MIPL still intends to look for a constructive resolution to the situation so that the impact on stakeholders will be mitigated. This will require the appointment of someone from CPRL other than the directors."

Bakshi said, "I have been constantly writing to McDonald's board and the CEO of the company since 2014 about various issues right up to having served a fried lizard in Kolkata."

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