Pune: US-based Parsi takes on fight to protect late wife’s right

66-year-old’s brother-in-law and nephew allegedly forged will of his deceased wife to usurp 100-acre family property in Palghar district and sell it to a developer

Pune: A US-based Parsi man has locked horns with his brother-in-law and nephew to protect his late wife’s last remaining vestige: her legal right to a share in the family’s 100-acre property in Palghar.

The property dispute, pending since 2015, took a curious turn after the brother-in-law furnished an allegedly forged will of the woman to sell the property.

Mehernosh Adar Irani (66), a resident of California, US, married Goolnar in 1975. “My wife obtained a Canadian citizenship soon after and rarely visited India. She had three sisters and two brothers.”

Goolnar’s father, Manecksha Irani, owned land measuring around 100 acres (property survey numbers 24, 27, 31, 32, 33 and 34) at Salgaon village in Palghar district, Thane, of which all children were rightful heirs. Goolnar, however, died on May 24, 1989.

‘Forged’ will

In 2015, Mehernosh found out that her brother, Ardeshir Manechsha Irani alias Mubaraki, and his son, Yohan — both residents of Pune — were planning to sell the entire property to a Mumbai-based developer on their own. “We then approached the court in Palghar to stop this sale.”

The case went up to the Bombay High Court the same year, where Mehernosh received a rude shock: Ardeshir and Yohan furnished a registered will of Goolnar, stating that she was handing over her share in the property to them.

That’s where the case took a flummoxing turn. Mehernosh claimed that Goolnar hadn’t left behind a will. “The signature on the will was not hers. This prompted me to file a complaint of forgery and cheating with the Pune police immediately.”

Sign differing second time
Pre-empting an arrest in the case, Ardeshir (75) and Yohan (37) filed for anticipatory bail on March 12 through their lawyer, Sumit Nikam, in the Additional Sessions Court in Pune. But they submitted a will, which they claimed was Goolnar’s, with a wholly different signature to back their case.

Additional Sessions Court judge JT Utpat rejected their application on March 24. In his order, he pointed at the differing wills.
“The signatures of the executant (Goolnar) on the will do not match, and do not tally with the signature on her passport.”

Mehernosh’s lawyers Hariprasad Shetty, Julius D’souza and Manoj Dubey said not only do the two wills have different signatures, but the size of the text also varies.

Nikam dubbed Mehernosh’s case as a pressure and harassment tactic.

“Ardeshir suffers from colon cancer and is undergoing radiotherapy for it.

Both he and his son will cooperate with the investigation. The complainant is trying to mislead the High Court and is only harassing my clients. The will is legal and registered.”

Mehernosh, who visits Pune frequently for the court cases, filed the complaint with the help of Goolnar’s sister, Byculla resident Firoze Rohinton Dastur.

Published on Mid-Day