bpp-lockerRegarding the cash of Rs. 21.42 lakhs in now defunct Rs.1,000/- and Rs. 500/- notes lying in the late CEO’S cupboard since September 2014, the present CEO Mr. Cawas Panthaky made a statement to the Investigation Officer on 01-12-2016 that the said cash was sealed by the Police in Case No. 27/SW OF 2014 (MICR No. 2/14) filed by Khojeste Mistry against Dinshaw Mehta which was not a correct statement to the knowledge of Mr. Cawas Panthaky and the trustees.

Based on this false statement, the new Investigation Officer was mislead due to which by his letter dated 15-12-2016 to Cawas Panthaky advised him to move the 38th Additional Magistrate Court in the said Case to allow BPP to deposit the cash Rs.22 lakhs in a bank account.

Accordingly only on 30-12-2016, Cawas Panthaky filed an Application No. 54/M of 2016 in Case No. 27/SW of 2014 on 29-01-2016 before the 38th Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ballard Pier, wherein Dinshaw Mehta was wrongly named as an Accused. On receipt of this Application Dinshaw Mehta was summoned by the Court on 30-12-2016, when Dinshaw Mehta informed the Court that he was himself one of the Complainant who had written to the MRA Marg Police by his letter dated 21-09-2014 to investigate the source of the Cash of Rs. 20 lakhs found in the cupboard and he was not an Accused in Case No. 27/SW of 2014.

On hearing this the Hon’ble Judge inquired of the advocate whether Dinshaw Mehta was an accused and on being informed that he was not rebuked the Advocate of Cawas Panthaky that he mislead him to issue Summons to Dinshaw Mehta by stating that he was an Accused. He further pointed out that 30-12-16 was the last day for depositing the notes in Bank but in view of police seal it may be allowed upto 31-03-2017. The Hon’ble Judge ordered written say of Dinshaw Mehta on 31-12-2016 on the said Application.

On next day, Senior Counsel Abad Ponda filed the say of Dinshaw Mehta and informed the Court that the money was not sealed in Case No. 27/SW of 2014 but suo moto sealed by the Police due to the joint complaint of all 7 Trustees including Dinshaw Mehta and therefore the present Application was wrongly filed before this Court in Case No. 27/SW of 2014. He further informed the Court that Dinshaw Mehta had No Objection to the money being deposited in any Bank account as the money rightfully belongs to the BPP and should be used for Parsi community charitable purposes. It was pointed out that the cash Rs.20 lakhs found in the cupboard is not a matter in the pending investigation in Case No. 27/SW of 2014 before this Hon’ble Court nor was the money sealed by the Police in the pending proceeding No. 27/SW of 2014. The Court has ordered the I.O. to give his say on 07-01-2017 on the said seal.

To re-capitulate the brief facts of this cash of Rs. 21.42 lakhs in CEO’s cupboard are as follows:

1. On 16-09-2014 when the cupboard in late CEO’s cabin was opened by Mrs. Arnavaz Mistry and Mrs. Armaity Tirandaz along with BPP staff, a total Cash of Rs. 21.42 lakhs was found. At the Board meeting that evening no final decision was taken, though various options were discussed, as recorded that day.

2. On 21-09-2014, all the seven Trustees including Dinshaw Mehta filed a complaint with Senior Inspector MRA Marg Police to investigate the matter and take action as fit.

3. On 08-01-2015, the cupboard containing the cash was sealed by the Police in the presence of two Panchas, Shri Dattatray Awhad and Shri Raghu Pannikar after taking Inventory of its contents. The money was not sealed in the pending proceedings No. 27/SW of 2014 but independently pending investigation of the complaint of all seven Trustees.

4. After detailed Investigation, MRA Marg Police by its letter dated 16-05-2015 enclosed the report of investigation and informed that the cash belonged to the Trust and that the police had No Objection for Trustees removing the seal of the cupboard bearing the signature of police and Panchas and to use the money for Trust activities by taking it into BPP accounts.

5. However the then majority Trustees, were procrastinating about opening cupboard and taking the cash of Rs.20 lakhs into BPP accounts and at Board meeting of 2nd June 2015 when the then Chairman advised the Board that cash of Rs. 20 lakhs released by the police should be taken into accounts of BPP and utilize for its Charitable objects, the four majority Trustees, Yazdi Desai, Khojeste Mistry, Jimmy Mistry and Arnavaz Mistry resolved not to deposit the cash Rs. 20 lakhs till further instructions whilst Dinshaw Mehta & Aramaity Tirandaz opined that the cash should be deposited in BPP bank accounts.

6 On 02-06-2015, the four majority Trustees filed a complaint letter dated 30-05-2015 to Dy. Commissioner of Police (Zone I) that MRA Marg police has carried out a very shoddy investigation and requested him to order a thorough investigation.

7. On 11-06-2015, the three Minority Trustees, Dinshaw Mehta, Armaity Tirandaz & Muncherji Cama wrote to Dy. Commissioner of Police (Zone-I) that the 4 Trustees are on a witch hunt and abusing the process of law to settle their personal scores due to loss of one of their wives in Trustees elections.

8. Thereafter due to further complaints to Dy. Commissioner of Police about shoddy investigation by MRA Marg Police from Kersi Randeria and Arzan Ghadially, the MRA Marg Police by its letter dated 27-07-2015 directed the Trustees not to open the seal of the cupboard and not to divert the cash of Rs. 20 lakhs till further orders from them. Thus for over 2 months of the police giving their NOC to use the cash, the Trustees for their own Agenda did not comply. Since then the cash Rs. 21.42 lakhs is lying in the cupboard without earning any interest on it pending any further investigation which is still awaited.

9. At the press conference held by the Trustees in July 2016, the Trustees admitted and acknowledged that the transfer fees payable by Musharaf Kader for Dadi House tenancy was indeed Rs. 45 lakhs only and not Rs. 65 lakhs as earlier claimed by Yazdi Desai and Khojeste Mistry. At the said press conference, to a query by Jehangir Patel, owner and Editor of Parsiana magazine, that in view of admission of transfer fees being only 45 lakhs then what is the status of cash Rs. 20 lakhs still lying in the sealed CEO’s cupboard, Yazdi Desai clarified that this Rs. 20 lakhs cash in the cupboard was in no way related to the transfer fees of Musharaf Kader but was BPP’s money.

10. On 08-11-2016 when the demonetization was announced it was likely that the cash would become redundant if steps were not taken. On 01-12-2016, Cawas Panthaky made his famous wrong statement that the money was sealed in pending case No. 27/SW of 2014 due to which the I.O. requested him to get the Court sanction to open the seal.

11. The matter is now fixed for hearing the report of the I. O. on 07-01-2017, after which a decision will be taken. Till then notes will continue to rot in the cupboard.””

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this page are not those of the editor or management of the Mumbai Samachar.

Published on Mumbai Samachar