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Director of restaurant operator charged with spiking attempt

Vikas Nath, director of the company that owns Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Benares, has been charged under Section 61 of the Sexual Offences Act for administering a substance with intent.

Nath, who has been director of restaurant operator Termdeal Limited since 2002, was arrested in the early hours of 15 January at an unnamed private members’ club in Mayfair after staff called the police when it was reported that the 61-year-old had attempted to spike the drink of a female guest.

It is alleged that Nath tried to spike the drink with gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) which, when ingested, is converted into gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), the ‘date rape’ drug. GBL is significantly more powerful, and rapid, than GHB. The charge claims that Nath attempted to add the drug to the woman’s drink “knowing she did not consent and with the intention of stupefying or overpowering her so as to enable any person to engage in a sexual activity involving her”.

Nath appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 17 January and was remanded in custody to next appear at Southwark Crown Court on 14 February.

Detective inspector Kieron Vaughan, who is leading the investigation into the incident, said: “Anyone who suspects they might have been spiked is urged to report it to police as soon as possible so that we can obtain any time sensitive evidence needed to assist in the investigation. If you are in a bar or club you can report it to a member of staff who will assist you. If you see anything suspicious, report it to bar staff or police. If you witness a crime in progress please call 999.”

He also pleaded that those who have any information about incidences either call local police on 101 or speak with “the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Termdeal Limited, which according to its LinkedIn page operates seven restaurants in the UK and Spain, including Benares, is yet to issue a statement on the matter.

The UK Home Office recently announced a series of measures including self-testing kits and hospitality staff training in a bid to crackdown on cases of drink spiking in the on-trade.

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