‘Curry-gate’ taxi row prompts argy-bhaji

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City cabbies have launched a heated ‘curry-gate’ protest after a driver was banned for rowing with his wife about a ruined supper.

Almost three years ago Ali Sayed accidentally kicked a football through his kitchen window – straight into a pot of curry his wife had cooked.

She retaliated by flicking curry at him, burning his arm.

The ensuing argument, which involved a call to police, has this month cost the dad-of-four his taxi licence.

Now the council is being accused of sizzling hypocrisy over last year’s taxi rapist scandal involving former mayor Subhan Shafiq.

Mr Shafiq, despite giving a reference for a convicted rapist friend to become a cab driver, is currently driving taxis himself around MK.

He has been granted two different council licences, one to drive a private hire vehicle and one to drive a hackney carriage.

Mr Shafiq told the Citizen this week: “I’ve done nothing wrong. My criminal record check is clean. There is no reason why I can’t drive taxis.”

But the Milton Keynes Private Hire Association objects.

Chairman Dennis Edwards said: “We feel it is unfair and hypocritical of the council to take one driver’s licence away over a domestic row yet allow the former councillor behind the taxi-gate scandal to carry on driving.”

The association is this week helping Mr Sayed prepare a case for appeal at the magistrates court, claiming he is an innocent victim of the enhanced DBS criminal record checks brought in after the taxi-gate blunders.

They are also planning a sit-in protest at the civic offices. Meanwhile they are demanding the council strip Mr Shafiq of his licences.

Mr Sayed, who lives on Springfield, is now unemployed and reliant upon the Foodbank to feed his family.

He said: “It all seems too harsh. I was playing football with my son and broke the window.

“My wife had spent five hours cooking the lamb curry and glass went in it. Quite rightly, she was not happy.”

He admits he shouted when he leaned through the window to help and the hot curry was flicked onto his arm. We don’t usually row but I was in pain. She was scared so she called the police.”

The couple made up shortly afterwards and police asked Mr Sayed to sign a paper to “close the case”.

He says he did not realise that the document was an official caution.

It is understood the council took its action because Mr Sayed failed to declare the caution at the time.

A spokesman said: “Milton Keynes Council has a new tough but fair policy on taxi licensing. This driver’s licence was revoked as, after reviewing the case fully, it was decided he was in clear breach of the rules.”