11/29/2013 09:17 EST | Updated 01/29/2014 05:59 EST

Surrey family sues Diwali eating contest organizers

The family of a Surrey, B.C., man who suffered brain damage after choking at an eating contest at a Diwali celebration last year, is suing the event's organizers.

Samaljit (Sunny) Aulakh has been in hospital, unable to speak or walk, since November 2012, when he took his son to the Diwali celebration in Surrey, sponsored by local radio station Red FM.

Aulakh volunteered to go up on stage to participate in an eating contest involving gulab jamuns, soft doughy Indian sweets the size of Timbits.

According to a lawsuit filed by Aulakh's wife, Kamaljeet, a radio broadcaster with Red FM instructed contestants to bend over and eat gulab jamuns without using their hands.

Aulakh won the competition and was then allegedly told by a contest organizer that if he threw up, he wouldn't be able to claim the prize — a new iPhone.

Aulakh choked and fell to the ground as his young son, Pawan, watched him turn blue in the face.

Aulakh ended up in a coma for 10 days and emerged with severe brain damage.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of organizers Red FM for failing to ensure the event was safe and that properly trained medical personnel were on hand.

Also named in the suit are makers of the gulab jamuns, Nanak foods, and the venue, Surrey's Central City Shopping Centre.

Aulakh's family is asking for damages to deal with loss of income and cover medical and long term care costs.

The allegations have not been proven in court. Red FM could not be reached for comment.

Read the lawsuit