The officials allegedly conspired to change the ‘unsafe’ tag at the behest of the bar owner.

Conspiracy for safe biriyani tag Hyderabads top health food lab officials arrestedRepresentational image: Number55 via Wikimedia Commons
news Crime Monday, July 17, 2017 - 19:45

Five persons, including officials of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the State Food Laboratory (SFL), were arrested on Saturday for allegedly conspiring to manipulate food test certificates of Haveli Bar and Restaurant. Haveli’s biriyani was recently tested by food safety department of Hyderabad and was found unfit for consumption.

The arrested have been identified as GHMC assistant food controller K Balaji Raju, SFL chief public analyst N Ravindra, owner of Haveli Bar and Restaurant KV Narsinga Rao, an accountant at the bar, K Srinivas and record assistant with GHMC A Jagan.

“On Saturday we conducted a surprise check at SFL and arrested five officials,” ACB Director General (DG) J Purnachandra Rao told Deccan Chronicle. The raid was carried out based on a tip-off.

According to reports, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials found Rs 1.25 lakh while carrying out surprise raids at SFL. They believe the amount was the bribe paid to SFL officials by hotel owners in collusion with GHMC officials.  

Rao said that the food inspector of Central Zone GHMC had collected samples of chicken biryani in Haveli Bar and Restaurant in Begumpet and sent samples to SFL Nacharam for the report in June. The SFL had then deemed the samples to be unfit for consumption.

Following this, the GHMC assistant food controller Raju advised the hotel owner KV Narsinga Rao to seek re-analysis of the samples from the Central Food Laboratory in Pune.

“In order to change the report at the behest of the bar owner, the GHMC assistant food controller colluded with the SFL analyst to influence the central lab authorities in Pune,“ an ACB official said.

For some time now, eateries in Hyderabad, especially those selling biryanis, have been under the scanner for serving unhygienic food to customers. Several outlets were penalised or handed notices on the same issue earlier in 2017.