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MBA student tries to blackmail Pizza Hut, arrested

A bid to extort money from a local Pizza Hut outlet for forgetting to affix mandatory vegetarian and non-vegetarian labels on a delivery of four pizzas ended in the arrest of a Kandivali resident on Friday. According to the police, Anil Ojha, 25, had initially demanded Rs 1 crore from the fast food outlet’s manager, Prashant Tambe.

As per the FIR filed on April 28 by Tambe at Kandivali police station, the accused had ordered four pizzas, two vegetarian and two non-vegetarian, on April 3 for home delivery. After the pizzas were delivered to his residence, Ojha called Tambe to complain that the outlet had failed to affix the mandatory labels, and he — a vegetarian — had inadvertently consumed a non-vegetarian pizza which violated his religious principles.

According to the police, Ojha is an MBA student and shares a flat with his friends. His father is a government employee, they added.

“Ojha initially demanded Rs 1 crore as compensation from Tambe. He later brought the amount down to Rs 50 lakh and finally settled for Rs 10 lakh, to be paid in weekly instalments of Rs 25,000,” said Senior PI Mukund Pawar, Kandivali police station.

Mr Tambe tried to reason with Ojha, telling him there were other methods to redress his grievance including approaching the consumer court. “Ojha, however, threatened to highlight the incident on social media saying it would go viral and lead to loss of face for Pizza Hut,” PI Sudhir Dalvi with Kandivali police station said.

The blackmail calls by Ojha persisted for over three weeks

till April 28, when Tambe approached the police. Acting on his complaint, the police laid a trap for Ojha the same day in a coffee shop near the Pizza Hut outlet, and asked Tambe to call the accused to the location to hand over the first instalment. As soon as Ojha accepted the money, plainclothes police officers moved in and took him into custody. He was taken to Kandivali police station and placed under arrest after being charged with extortion.

Staff at the outlet told the police they had ensured the correct labels were affixed before despatching them for delivery. The police are now ascertaining if Ojha deliberately took them off so he could extort the fast food chain — an idea he allegedly got from the Internet.

A spokesperson for Pizza Hut India said, “Pizza hut maintains strict quality control at various levels and are very stringent about compliances and standard protocols when it comes to serving customers. We are aware of the entire situation and this seems to be a groundless case where the ultimate motive of the customer was to extort money from Pizza Hut and malign its reputation.

"This incident happened at one of our franchisee owned stores. The occurrence has been reported to the police authorities and they are presently investigating the matter and Pizza Hut is providing necessary assistance to resolve the matter.”



Man told manager a delivery error made him eat a non-veg pizza, and he would expose this on social media




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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 2:25:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/mba-student-tries-to-blackmail-pizza-hut-arrested/article8539763.ece

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