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Mr Haque’s Hooky Hock

The East London Advertiser reports on key Lutfur Rahman backer, Siraq Haque’s trouble with the law:

Police have raided four leading curry houses in London’s East End including Brick Lane in a joint operation with trading standards officers and customs and excise over allegations of ‘dodgy’ wine.

They took away samples of wine in the operation at the three Clifton restaurants in Whitechapel Road near Brick Lane and two at Westferry Road near Canary Wharf. The fourth restaurant raided was the Shampan in Brick Lane.

“inquiries are ongoing,” a police spokesman told the East London Advertiser today. “We cannot comment on the details, but can confirm that officers went into the four restaurants and some wine was taken away, but we are not saying from which premises.”

The raids were a joint operation with HM Custom & Excise and Tower Hamlets council’s treading standards officers on March 21.

The Clifton chain of restaurants is owned by leading Brick Lane business guru Shiraj Haque who was behind the campaign to elect Lutfur Rahman as first-ever elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Gilligan has more:

Shiraj Haque, king of the Brick Lane curry kings, suffered the indignity of police raiding his Clifton restaurant empire and carrying away large quantities of allegedly dodgy wine. His restaurants have, it is claimed, been passing off cheap plonk as good stuff – complete with fake labels – and selling it at inflated prices to unsuspecting tourists in search of that authentic Brick Lane experience.

Mr Haque, who Andrew Gilligan notes may be wholly innocent of any wrongdoing, is a bit of a controversy magnet:

[Haque has] been a vocal presence at the mayor’s side and has also been observed homophobically heckling Lutfur’s  enemies at various council meetings recently. Ted Jeory, who witnessed it, has a selection of some of his choicer rhetoric here.

Why, asks Andrew Gilligan, is Mr Haque such a keen supporter of Lutfur Rahman? Could it be something to do with a desire to be appointed chair of the Baishakhi Mela Trust, which organises a huge Bengali festival, a post from which he was removed in 2007 “after persistent allegations – denied by Mr Haque – that the event suffered from financial irregularities and was used as a front to bring in illegal immigrants posing as performers”?

We cannot tell. However, Andrew Gilligan notes:

Not long before his restaurants were raided, Mr Haque was appointed chair of the Baishakhi Mela advisory board.

There are strenuous efforts going on, behind the scenes, to readmit Lutfur Rahman to the Labour Party. I don’t think he should be, do you?

(Title, courtesy of a reader)

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