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REAL REASONS FOR DISHARMONY ON BPP BOARD

Last Saturday 14th January 2017, the Parsi Times weekly, owned by co-Trustee Kersi Randeria, carried an article with the four majority Trustees criticizing both Armaity Tirandaz and I on absolutely false and bogus reasons. Unfortunately, last year when the Jam-e-Jamshed began reporting incidents against these same Trustees, the Jam-e-Jamshed was taken over by Kersi Randeria and thereafter an embargo was placed upon the Jam-e Jamshed to report any BPP affairs. Hence, we are grateful to Bombay Samachar for giving us an outlet to bring the truth before the community and allow us to reply to the false allegations in the Parsi Times so that the community can understand both sides of the controversy.

If you recollect, in October 2015 the four majority Trustees contested together (with a panel of Kersi, Noshir and Zarir with tacit support from and to Yazdi and his Wapiz group) as a joint group/panel so that each ones supporters would complement the other three and hopefully the combined vote bank of all four of them would help them overcome the obstacles and they succeed which they indeed did. It was shocking that the Orthodox joined hands with the Reformists, that Zareer Bhathena who had faced multiple litigation from Yazdi Desai and in retaliation against whom defamation and libel cases are still pending also joined hands and so also Noshir Dadrawala who was equally hounded out of BPP in his first term by Yazdi Desai also joined together for their petty political benefits. Politics make strange bedfellows. None of them had the courage to contest on their sole strengths and merits. As against their combined electoral strength as well as the medium of press of Parsi Times doing its own propaganda in their favour, I had to contest alone on only my strength and the credibility of my father in spite of all the false and vicious propaganda and allegations against my family by their lackeys. Armaity too was elected on her own merits. Thus the community has placed faith on all of us and not just the four of them.

They then give their distorted version of disunity among the Trustees as starting with the victory of Armaity Tirandaz. As expected the loss of their ferociously backed candidate Arnavaz Mistry against Armaity Tirandaz made three of the four Trustees lose all sense of equilibrium so much so that all their actions are now centered around avenging her defeat.

What led to the discord

But the first seeds of disunity were sown in March 2016 when Noshir Dadrawala vociferously defended the allotment of Dr Farokh Master who was given a very valuable flat of 1200 sqft carpet area in Cusrow Baug. This was allotted to him without even his file or his application form or his investigation report being placed before the Trustees. In fact shockingly, publication of his name in the Parsi press calling for objections, if any was also not complied with. The flat was allotted to him because he portrayed himself to be living with his entire family in a very small house with very low income. Later it was revealed that Dr Master’s income was not only extremely high, making him ineligible for a free charity flat, but that he already owned two ownership flats. His case for congestion didn’t stand valid as one of his daughters had already married and was residing in her husbands flat and the younger daughter was also shortly getting married. Instead of accepting that all of us trustees had erred and instead of taking corrective steps, Noshir Dadrawala kept on creating one implausible excuse or the other to justify the allotment and that is really when the division started.

Loss of Arnavaz Mistry

Then came Arnavaz Mistry’s defeat in April 2016 which was blamed on the support given by Jam-e-Jamshed, which led to the 4 majority Trustees banning all advertisements, public notices and announcements of allotment names and details being inserted in Jam-e-Jamshed and only to be given to Parsi Times of Kersi Randeria irrespective whether there was a clash of interests.

In spite of our strong opposition to such a ban, the majority Trustees had their way. So disgusted was Mr. Areez Khambatta, ex-Chairman of WAPIZ, at this Jame ban that he decided to sever ties with Yazdi and Wapiz and resigned. But it didn’t stop there.

Soon after Kersi Randeria went to the owner of Jam-e-Jamshed and with lure of lucre bought over its Editorial and Managements rights.

Where is the transparency?

Big claims of transparency and accountability were given a swift farewell by the four Trustees by ordering the administration not to give us any Minutes, documents, files, financial statements and any information on any matter to try and make us as ineffective as possible. This was on the basis that we were passing on all information to Muncherji Cama and Dinshaw Mehta.

I have written to the Board categorically stating that I am not sharing any information with either Muncherji Cama or my father, yet we have been denied basic information on the functioning of the Board, rendering us ineffective to act as Trustees.

What we fail to understand is why the secrecy! What do the Trustees have to hide from the beneficiaries that have appointed them. Why should our community members not be informed of all actions taken by us as we were elected on the promise of TRANSPARENCY, to which it seems that they four give only lip sympathy.

BPP FUNDS FOR PERSONAL BATTLES

Mr. Cama disclosed to the Charity Commissioner that a payment of Rs. 3 lakhs was made to Yazdi Desai’s advocate by the BPP, using Charity funds, in the Change Report matter of Yazdi Desai vs. Muncherji Cama.

We raised our objections to the fact that the Chairman was using the charity funds to fight his personal battles and that he should bear his own legal fees for such frivolous cases. On hearing this, the majority 4 Trustees told administration not to provide us with the regular weekly payment statements we were receiving thus far. This was done

so that we have no knowledge of

how our charity funds was being spent..

WHY WE STOPPED SIGNING LEAVE & LICENSE AGREEMENTS

In August 2016 we received a legal notice from Muncherji Cama not to alienate any property without his signature. Since we took office in October 2015 we have filed several new suits and filed several consent terms till September 2016 wherein Muncherji Cama has been accepted as a Trustee and his name included in the fresh Plaint of 2016 as well as on Consent Terms on the basis of advice and opinion given by our Rent Act Advocate Mr. K.K.Nariman.

In fact, even till date in all bank accounts Mr. Cama continues to be a signatory of BPP accounts as a Trustee. Since the Election Scheme mandates that the BPP will be administered and managed by a board of seven Trustees it seemed logical that Mr. Cama be allowed to continue or else we are duty bound to hold elections for his vacancy since June 2015. Thus when we received Mr. Cama’s legal notice we advised our colleagues to allow his signature on the Leave License Agreements just as we are taking his signature on fresh Plaints and Consent Terms and no prejudice would be caused to anyone.

Both Yazdi Desai and Kersi Randeria vehemently objected to it. We then requested them to obtain opinion from a Senior Counsel which was also refused. This unnecessarily led Mr. Cama to file a fresh 41E Application before the Charity Commissioner as well as an Originating Summons in the High Court which led to the Court expediting the Change Report matter. But our Trust was burdened with legal costs of this litigation which is still ongoing.

In September 2016 the majority Trustees resolved not to take Mr. Cama’s signature on any new Plaints but to make him a Defendant. We dissented to this decision and informed the Majority Trustees that because of ego the functions of the Trust should not be jeopardized. We said that in order to solve this issue and before executing any further documents which could tantamount to an illegal act, we should obtain the opinion of Senior Counsel but to no avail. Ultimately in end October 2016 the majority obtained Advocate Dandiwala’s (our in-house counsel) opinion behind our back on Mr. Cama’s signature by giving him half-baked facts especially on our refusal to sign without his signature.

Dadi House Fairy Tale

The four Trustees then blame as their second reason for disunity being the same repetition complaint of evidence of misappropriation of cash transaction in the Dadi House transfer of tenancy.

All of them seem to have a fixation about Dinshaw Mehta and even though he has retired over a year ago, they yet find some excuse or the other to harass him.

Yazdi Desai himself in the press conference of July 2016 told all the reporters present, to a query by Jehangir Patel, Owner and Editor of Parsiana magazine, that the money found in the safe is NOT related to the Dadi House transaction and that the transfer fees was Rs. 45 lakhs and not Rs. 65 lakhs. So from the horse’s mouth itself there exists no swindling of any money. It was Yazdi’s misconception for the last few years that caused all this confusion. Knowing these facts fully, the majority Trustees are deliberately prolonging proceedings to harass Dinshaw Mehta.

What goes around – comes around

Noshir Dadrawala was denied information by the previous Board on suspicion that he was passing information to Kersi Randeria, to frustrate him to resign which he ultimately did in March 2011. Maybe this is pay back for Noshir to do the same to me for being Dinshaw Mehta’s son. But I am made of far sterner stuff.

Noshir forgets his behaviour and justification today is a complete U-turn to what he wrote 8 years ago. I do not want to call him a hypocrite or a pendulum, but am lost for any other word to describe his behavior.

– Viraf D. Mehta

Published on Bombday Samachar

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