AN ASHTON shop has had its alcohol licence revoked after claims it was transferred into another person’s name in a ‘dishonest’ move.
And the consultant acting on behalf of the man who did it admitted he may have been duped.
Now the Premier store at Hurst Cross is unable to sell alcohol because of the actions of Adil Khurshid.
A complicated hearing in front of Tameside Council’s Speaker’s Panel (Liquor Licensing) committee on Monday, November 22 heard claim, counter claim and several pleas.
They centred around a complaint from Mohammed Ayoob that the premises licence he had transferred to him by previous holder Mr Khurshid in March was in turn transferred to Tasadaq Ahmad the following month without his agreement.
Tameside Council processed an application to put it in Mr Ahmad’s name after receiving it from legal representative Tony Dales.
But at the hearing, Mr Khurshid turned on him after a working relationship of five years and after not having met Mr Ayoob, he concluded his signature on the document was fake.
And chair of the panel Cllr Dolores Lewis said: “The panel can be confident there’s been some dishonesty in the transfer one way or another.
“It’s not possible to determine whether this application was genuine. The panel has no confidence the licensing objectives will be upheld.”
The hearing was told by Tahira Khan, who owns the building housing the Premier store, that she would take on the licence rather than see it stripped.
She said: “I was very shocked to hear there had been a problem and a review was necessary. At no point in time did we suspect the transfer application hadn’t been signed by Mr Ayoob.
“The business would be greatly affected if the sale of alcohol was removed. I would like the licence to remain in Mr Ahmad’s name but if the panel decides otherwise, I’d like the opportunity to apply for it in my name.”
Mr Ahmad, whose running of the shop was not brought into question, added: “Mr Khurshid contacted Mr Dales and asked me to pay for the application and provide my identity documents.
“I deny the accusations that I completed or signed applications. What’s decided can affect me and the business.”
In evidence, Mr Dales admitted: “I was not happy at all with Mr Khurshid’s explanation and told him so.
“I could not understand what was happening and why Mr Ayoob’s consent had been sent to me if he had never consented to the application.”
And in examination by Michael Robinson, Tameside Council’s head of licensing, he conceded: “With Covid-19, all my work was remote.
“My due diligence was to contact Mr Khurshid to confirm that Mr Ayoob was the person to consent and I needed that for the application to take place.
“I received that signature and I did not contact Mr Ayoob. I took it as read that was his signature.
“When I have someone consenting to no longer be the licence holder, my focus is on the new person coming in. That’s where I’d obtain ID and that’s what I did with Mr Ahmad.
“There could be a question as to whether I should’ve done more but I must re-enforce, at no stage during this application did I have any indication that Mr Ayoob was not consenting.
“If you ask about due diligence, perhaps my procedures are now that whenever you have anybody who is consenting I need myself to contact them.
“The signatures do differ. Looking at the signatures, if it isn’t his than he hasn’t consented.
“I have to accept the application was not valid, how can it be any other way?
“That application, that I submitted in good faith, is not valid.”
Mr Khurshid also claimed Mr Dales was in contact with Mr Ahmad, while the hearing heard several other allegations from all sides.
But in delivering the judgment, Cllr Lewis added: “There has been recklessness as regards to the correctness of the contents of the application, or there is a false statement.
“The panel can’t determine through an examination of the application process whether or not consent was given properly.
“This failure strikes at the heart of the licensing regime.
“The panel must have confidence applications are genuine.”