Tensions boil over into carpark fracas

A longstanding feud between two Indian restaurant chains erupted into parking lot fisticuffs last Thursday.

Each side tells it differently, but two men came to blows outside Merivale's Little India, with an ambulance eventually being called and complaints to police being filed on both sides.

Amardeep (Amar) Singh said he was briefly in hospital after the incident with chest pains and difficulty breathing.

Mahesh Nath suffered minor injuries to his arms and face.

Tensions date back to 2007 when Mr Singh was made redundant after eight years working at Little India.

He started his own restaurant, Coriander's, in Rolleston.

Mr Singh said the feud began when two chefs left employment at Little India to work for him in Rolleston. The back and forth of employees had continued ever since.

"That's where it all started, " Mr Singh said. "They are very upset, and they say we have taken their business."

Mr Singh now owns four Coriander's restaurants.

Mr Nath said the fight was nothing to do with the restaurants and it was over a personal matter he preferred to keep private.

Mr Nath, a manager at Little India Merivale, worked with Mr Singh for a few years before he was made redundant.

Mr Singh said the two remained friendly and kept in touch intermittently. Problems arose, Mr Singh said, when he did not tell Mr Nath about his new venture in Rolleston in 2007.

"He was offended I hadn't told him. But he was still working for Little India, so I didn't feel I could."

Tensions have escalated since, with both parties claiming different grievances and levels of contact in the past five years.

A scuffle broke out on Thursday evening.

Mr Singh said he was crossing the Little India parking lot to meet a friend in JDV bar. He said Mr Nath hit him from behind and he had no chance to defend himself.

Mr Nath tells a different story.

"That is absolutely wrong. It was a fight between us, not an attack.

"We were arguing and that turned into a fight."

He said that contrary to Mr Singh's account he did not throw the first punch.

"I've never been in trouble in my life, "' Mr Nath said.

"This was a very personal argument, I confronted him and lost my cool but I did not attack him, we fought and I had injuries as well. He is not a good guy."

Mr Nath said Mr Singh had threatened his family in the past, and after the parking lot incident he had filed a trespass order with the police.

Mr Singh said he had also filed a complaint with police regarding the alleged assault.

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