Almost a month after the high-end restaurant, Illuminati, located in the BKC of Mumbai downed its shutters, five dozen of its employees are still visiting its head office in Andheri to receive their salaries pending since November.
Illuminati shut down on December 18, 2019, but the management is yet to pay for the salaries to its former employees. Several workers living on rent in Mumbai and Thane are struggling to make ends meet, while the locals are finding it difficult to pay their children's monthly school fees and attending to the needs of their family.
After waiting for two months to get their dues paid from the AGA Hospitality Private Limited, the employees took the matter to the police.
Illuminati, which opened in January 2018, recorded a monthly average turnover of Rs 35-40 lakh, an employee said. After establishing a long list of patrons, its owner Akhilesh Rao invested the money in opening smaller outlets across Mumbai.
The smaller outlets could not yield profit, incurring a heavy loss to the company. The outlets were eventually shut down in October without clearing the bills for staff salaries. Shortly after that, the parent restaurant at BKC also downed its shutters.
The Illuminati owner also failed to give prior notice to the employees. The staff suspects that Akhilesh Rao did not pay the rental to Inspire BKC authorities, where the high-end resto-bar was operational for almost two years. Rao made several promises to the agitating employees but he kept extending the dates.
Even after the involvement of the MIDC police, the owner failed to pay the dues on time. Tired, the employees approached the Andheri office and called the police on January 15. The MIDC police this time summoned Illuminati finance head, Dinesh Panchal, to the police station.
Rao also rushed to the police station and requested a period of 10 days to arrange funds to clear the dues. He gave a final assurance of clearing all the dues to his former employees by January 25. The employees are still uncertain about receiving their salaries and filed a written complaint with the police.