yazd-desai-bppIn the Parsi Times issue of Saturday 8th April 2017, Yazdi Desai, Chairman of BPP, blames and avers that Parsi Lying in Hospital (PLIH) is in dilapidated and crumbling state all thanks to Dinshaw Mehta. Yazdi seems to forget that for the last over twenty years the Hospital is run by the Managing Committee comprising some of the most dedicated Doctors and Trustees including Dinshaw Mehta have no role to play in its management even today. Hence the condition of the Hospital is solely due to mis-management of the Managing Committee, which Yazdi Desai is well aware.

Further when the Managing Committee members pretending/posing to be Trustees of PLIH entered into a Lease Agreement with Krimson Health Ventures without public notice but in a private deal with a partner of one of the main Managing Committee member in 2009-10, Yazdi Desai himself along with all the other Trustees unanimously filed a Writ Petition in the High Court alleging fraud against the Managing Committee for this proposed Lease of buildability of well over I lakh sq. ft. at Rs. 1 crore lease rent per year first payable after about 8 years and 5% of revenue thereafter once revenue reaches Rs. 75 Crores. It was only after Yazdi’s wife was defeated by Muncherji Cama and there was a split in the Board of Trustees that Yazdi and his group of Trustees suddenly changed their stance and found the terms with slight variations now suddenly acceptable. Thus the hypocrisy of Yazdi Desai is now exposed. Yazdi Desai had filed before the Supreme Court an Application for costs and damages which was not entertained by them.

Yazdi Desai next pontificates on the observations of the Supreme Court that the Trustees should keep in mind ‘the directions of the author of the Trust’. But conveniently ignores the very next observation of ‘keeping in mind the interest of the Beneficiaries’. Thus the Supreme Court has laid down the important principle of ‘interest of beneficiaries’ which Yazdi Desai conveniently overlooks or else why would Yazdi Desai impose an increase of service charges burdening our beneficiaries with additional Rs. 750/ pm in spite of the Trust having a carried forward Income of Rs. 28 crores as disclosed in the Income Tax Returns filed by BPP and instead lying to the community that there is a loss of over Rs. 6 crores for 2015-16 by manipulation of figures of income and expenditure.

Reverting to the observation of the Supreme Court about the directions of the Settlor of the Trust, Yazdi Desai accuses me that the previous Board under my Chairmanship was in violation of the Trust Deeds by allotting flats under Refundable Deposit Scheme (RDS) to the more financially privileged class of the community. Wah, Yazdi what double standards.

In the first place I would like to clarify that RDS was first implemented by the then Board under the Chairmanship of Jamshedji Guzder and once Govt made Pugree legal in 1999-2000, the then Board under Chairmanship of Minoo Shroff approached Senior Counsel Nadir Modi along with Dinshaw Tamboly, Dadi Engineer and others and discussed the Wadia Baug Trust Deeds and the objects of the Trust and we were categorically advised that we could continue the RDS policy under the Trust Deed. It was because of this policy that the corpus and deposit which was just around Rs. 15 crores in 1994 is today almost Rs. 300 crores allowing BPP to carry out many new schemes like second and third child incentives, mobed amelioration, etc.

When I became Chairman in 2008 I continued the same policy with active support of all the Trustees INCLUDING YAZDI DESAI till we parted ways after loss of his wife to Cama. Of course now that Yazdi has joined hands with the Reformist Randeria, his views seem to have suddenly changed, as he cannot afford to go against Randeria on whose shoulders he got elected in the first place. Even the present Board on insistence of Randeria has once again approached various Counsels and all of them have unequivocally advised to continue the RDS policy, but Randeria is not convinced and the present Trustees don’t have the gumption to note his dissent and move forward. Even the Small Causes Court has favorably commented on this policy in a suit in response to the allegation made that Trustees auction the flats for high price. Recently even the High Court has advised the Trustees to continue with this policy but the

ego of one man is depriving the community of raising resources through this policy but instead

want to burden the full community by raising service charges to balance the Income and Expenditure.

It is important to stress here that keeping in mind the requirement of housing the needy and deserving, the RDS policy was strictly implemented only to high value flats and informally all flats valued at less than Rs. 30 lakhs in 1999, which value was raised to Rs. 50 lakhs in 2005 and further to Rs. 75 lakhs in 2010 were not allowed to be auctioned but to be given free to waiting list applicants. Thus all flats of Nowroz Baug and Jer Baug were not allowed to be sold but in fact we would buy over these low value flats at Rs. 1500/ to Rs. 2000/ per sq. ft. and allot free to the deserving applicants. Similarly all low value flats of other Baugs were excluded from this policy.

Only high value flats of Rs. 1 crore or more were allowed to be given on RDS on the basic principle that instead of giving such largesse to one family, greater good to the larger section of the community could be done by encashing its value and using its proceeds to help atleast 100 families with funds of Rs. 1 lakh for each family.

Besides most of the flats that were given under RDS policy were already those occupied by tenants and highly unlikely to revert to BPP but more likely to lead to illegal induction by third parties. Allowing encashment of tenancy value of such flats would allow the outgoing tenant to earn 50% revenue for his future medical needs or to go back to his native place, the Trust would earn 50% revenue and a family who could afford the tenancy value would get to reside in the confines of a Parsi colony thus increasing the likelihood of marriage within the community.

Yazdi Desai further pontificates that all BPP and Wadia Baugs are ‘for housing the poor and needy at concessional rates.’ In that case once again the point arises why the increase of Rs. 750/ pm in service charges. Where is the concessional rate implemented. The over hundred flats, which had been lying vacant and unallotted since 2013, (which was the main reason for Mr. Cama to offer to resign in disgust), have been allotted mostly to those earning income of over Rs. 1 Lakh pm charging high license fees. Should not Yazdi practice what he preaches. As an example, Yazdi wants to sell on ownership basis the flats of Bamji Sanatorium instead of giving to the poor and needy of Navsari which the authors of Bamji Sanatorium have laid down.

Further though the Bharucha Baug Trust Deed specifically is meant for housing poor and needy yet the new Board are proposing to sell ownership flats to the rich and powerful and also construct commercial shops which is also prohibited by its Trust Deed. This was stopped by Fali Poncha in 1992 when the then Trustees wanted to sell on ownership basis the flats of Multistorey building in Bharucha Baug and had even sold application forms at Rs. 1000/ each but when Poncha threatened to move the Charity Commissioner that the idea of sale was dropped and instead allotted free to the waiting list applicants. Another instance of the double speak and hypocrisy of Yazdi Desai. I can continue to give many such instances of deliberate and wanton breach of the objects of the Trust.

Yazdi shamelessly exhorts that the best way to raise resources is to raise service charges forgetting the mandate of the Supreme Court that Trustees should bear in mind the interest of the beneficiaries. Yazdi to cater to the demands of Randeria has now suddenly changed his earlier policy. Thus instead of implementing the RDS policy only for high value already occupied flats of over Rs. 100 lakhs which would be a win-win situation for all the stake holders, advocates raising resources through taxing the whole community. But then does the Board have the guts and courage to over rule the king pin and De-facto Chairman in the BPP, Kersi Randeria.

Yours Sincerely,

– Dinshaw Mehta

Published on Bombay Samachar