It was the heart-tugging story of the year – a poor elderly couple, struggling with their food kiosk in the coronavirus lockdown, discovered by a blogger whose post moved thousands into donating or visiting the shop in Delhi. There is now a dark twist to the magical rags-to-riches story of “Baba Ka Dhaba”.
The “Baba”, Kanta Prasad, has filed a police complaint against the man who put his food stall on the map. Food blogger Gaurav Wasan swindled him, alleges the 80-year-old, wearing sunglasses besides his usual orange work shirt.
“He called for donations in the name of his wife, brother and himself. He gave us a cheque of only ₹ 2,33,677. I have deposited the cheque; I don’t know if the money will be credited. They tell me I got 20 lakh but where is the money,” Kanta Prasad told NDTV.
Gaurav Wasan has often been seen at the shop since his viral post turned it into an overnight sensation. This morning, he was ready with his bank account statements to contest the “Baba’s” allegations.
He said when he went to the bank on October 8, the day after his post, to deposit money received on behalf of Kanta Prasad, he was told that the account had been sealed because ₹ 20 lakh had already been deposited in it. “That is why when I emerged from the bank, I made a public appeal asking people to stop donating to Baba Ka Dhaba as it had received enough financial assistance,” Mr Wasan told NDTV.
“I always promote street food of India. I made a viral video that brought them so much help. Every person used to say you are helping them so much. Now the same people are calling me a fraud. I have all the account details here, I have been forced to stoop to this level,” he said, showing a stack of statements.
In the post early October that changed everything for “Baba Ka Dhaba”, Kanta Prasad had wept about earning hardly anything for the food that he and his wife prepared every day and sold for around ₹ 30-50 a plate.
The image of the old man wiping his tears drew thousands of retweets and countless offers of help. Over the next few days, the visuals transformed into those of long queues outside his shop, and the media reported on his spectacular change of fortune after 30 years in business.