Bank repossesses world’s largest Indian restaurant

London, October 18:

The world’s largest Indian restaurant that began business in 2001 after converting a 19th century chapel in west Yorkshire has been repossessed by the Bank of India, which had extended a mortgage to the owner in 2000.

The Cleckheaton-based Aakash Restaurant seats 860 diners at a time and has been in the headlines ever since it was opened. It hosted a royal visit by the Duke of Kent in 2001 and was featured in BBC2’s Restoration series.

It is owned by Dewsbury-resident Mohammad Iqbal Tabassum, who spent two years and 1.7 million pounds to convert the former Providence Place Chapel into Aakash Restaurant. He is now banned from entering the property.

The notice displayed on the front door of the restaurant and car park reads, “The Bank of India have entered and taken possession of this property as mortgagee under a mortgage dated the fourth day of August 2000, made between Mohammad Iqbal Tabassum and the Bank of India.

“Accordingly neither Tabassum nor anyone claiming title under him may lawfully regain entry or retake possession of this property save by order of the court or with the agreement or consent of the Bank of India.” Reports from Yorkshire say that the notice has been put up by the bank’s solicitor, Mohindra Maini, based in Manchester.

Ward councillor Ann Raistrick told the local media, “I wasn’t aware that it was in difficulty but if it is true it will be a great disappointment and a big blow for Tabassum. He put a huge amount of effort and energy into saving a listed building and trying to make a go of it.”