The malabar chicken masala is marvelous, not noxious, says a Conservative MP who traveled 1,300 kilometres to sample the award-winning dish that landed a Toronto restaurateur on the wrong side of the law.
John Williamson, MP for New Brunswick Southwest, is the latest politician to voice his support for Naveen Polapady, the owner of Maroli Indian Kerala Cuisine, who was charged after he allegedly defended his property from a would-be thief last summer.
“It’s outrageous,” the East Coast MP said Monday.
In town on business, Williamson stopped by 630 Bloor St. W., just west of Bathurst St., to meet the man at the heart of the bizarre story that surfaced last week.
“Like a lot of Canadians, when I heard this story I was outraged and concerned that once again the Toronto Police had targeted the wrong individual,” he said.
While at Maroli, the MP had a bite to eat. And of course he ordered the dish that got the restaurateur in trouble.
Polapady, who immigrated to Canada from India eight years ago, said his malabar chicken masala is made with a secret mix of 16 spices.
He was armed with those spices and a broom during an altercation with an alleged crook behind his restaurant last August.
Polapady, who has since been dubbed Spiceman, called 911 and police found the man, whose eyes were still burning.
But after reviewing video of the incident they charged the restaurateur with assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and administering a noxious substance.
“That’s just ridiculous,” Williamson said.
After tasting the dish, he said “it’s fantastic!”
“And it’s definitely not a noxious substance,” the MP said. “The police got that one wrong.”
Police have said there is more to the story.
But Williamson said it’s hard to believe cops would lay such charges after shopkeeper David Chen, owner of Lucky Moose Food Mart in nearby Chinatown, was found not guilty less than a year earlier of assault and forcible confinement for nabbing a plant thief.
The Spiceman’s case illustrates the need for Bill C-26, which is currently before Parliament and aims to “clarify and enhance” the rights of property owners to defend themselves, he said.
“(Police) have an important job to do,” Williamson said. “But at the end of the day, they need to be going after the bad guys not the good guys.”