"Baba ka Dhaba" owner Kanta Prasad says, "Gaurav Wasan was not a thief"
"Baba ka Dhaba" - the tiny roadside kiosk run by a poor, elderly couple in Delhi - had become the story of the year during the lockdown a few months ago. Their struggle touched hearts, donations poured in, and their eatery was flooded with customers. All this after a video shared by a food blogger Gaurav Wasan. But a month later, the owner of the dhaba - Kanta Prasad - filed a police case against the blogger for swindling the donations. The blogger denied the charges and defended himself with his bank statements.
Now, the 80-year-old "Baba", in a new video shared by another food blogger on Saturday, is seen taking his words back. With folded hands, Mr Prasad says, "Gaurav Wasan was not a thief. We never called him a thief."
The "universe knows Gaurav Wasan was not a thief", Mr Prasad says in Hindi, and asks for forgiveness from people for the allegations that had given a dark twist to this rags-to-riches story.
"Baba" had then started his own restaurant in the same upscale locality of Malviya Nagar where he ran his shop for 30 years.
He is back at his food stall now after his restaurant business did not take off.
"The cost of running the restaurant was around Rs 1 lakh and the income was Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000. Daily, we would earn 1,000 or 700; it was not fixed," Kanta Prasad says as he flips rotis on a tawa prepping a meal for the blogger who has come to his stall.
Kanta Prasad also says that he did not lose all his money to the restaurant and has saved a sum for the future.
The video, shared on Instagram by blogger Karan Dua, has been widely shared with many coming out in support of Gaurav Wasan, the man who put Mr Prasad's stall on the map.
This video completely broke my heart. Dilli waalon please please go eat at बाबा का ढाबा in Malviya Nagar if you get a chance 😢💔 #SupportLocalpic.twitter.com/5B6yEh3k2H— Vasundhara Tankha (@VasundharaTankh) October 7, 2020
In October last year, Mr Prasad broke down while speaking to Mr Wasan speaking of his financial hurdles during the lockdown that affected the livelihood of many. The video of the old man showing a few Rs 10 notes as his day's collection tugged hearts and the next day his stall was flooded by Delhiites.
Several celebrities and thousands of people donated to the couple after the video gained momentum on social media.
The police case against Mr Wasan was filed nearly a month after the video.
In the complaint, Mr Prasad alleged Mr Wasan "intentionally and deliberately shared only his and his family/friends' bank details and mobile numbers with the donors and collected a huge amount of donation... without providing any information to the complainant".