News

THE “YAZDI DESAI” YOU SHOULD REALLY KNOW! – BPP Trustee Viraf Mehta

THE DUPLICITY OF YAZDI DESAI

Dear Community members,

yazdi-viraf

I attended Mrs. Anahita Desai’s campaign speech at Navroze Baug on 21st June, 2018. She was accompanied by her husband, the Chairman of the BPP – Mr. Yazdi Desai, actively campaigning for her by appealing to voters, and I quote, “As a chairman of the BPP I’m asking you to vote for my wife. Give me my majority.” He referred to Anahita as his Executive Assistant and amongst the many other things he mentioned, he admitted that Anahita is privy to all his emails exchanged between the Trustees, she even drafts all his emails and sometimes even takes down all his dictation. These were some of her qualities that, to his mind, should convince the voter to vote for her.

I would like to show you some of the correspondence between Mr Desai and I which will show the true caliber and maturity of our Chairman of the BPP. It will expose Yazdi Desai for the kind of person he truly is, not the kind of person he portrays himself to be. I don’t need to go too far. Below are three instances that took place just last month, in May 2018. To put all of the above in context, and to produce verbatim some of the emails that this multi-facetted Chairman referred to, kindly read the following:-

  1. On 18th May 2018, I had written to the CEO, cc’ing all the Trustees, opposing the late night Friday Durbar’s held by the Chairman, forcing BPP staff, senior administration and beneficiaries to wait till midnight just for Yazdi. I stated that if each Trustee were to follow this practice, it would be detrimental to the BPP. Yazdi’s response to my simple email was as follows:-BPP is not your pop’s defunct iron foundry smelting stolen BMC iron gutter lids that you can give such orders…
    You can come and sit on the floor! Your rightful place.


    You want a physical fight then you will be given one in case you push an entry into a private meeting!


    Make sure your mom does not faint like she did in Rustom Baug in 2011 in fear of her family men losing their b____s !


    And if you have the b___s, I dare you to threaten when Kersi has his durbars on Tuesdays, you LTBG pussycat.

  1. Everyone loves their parents and adores them and I’m sure everyone loved to get spoilt by their grandparents too. I am just the same. Before I joined the BPP I was able to display and revere in the love I have for my family. But now, some people have a problem with that. As many of you know, I have been supporting May Queen for quite a few years. Last year was no different. I decided to sponsor some prizes in memory of my grandfather, Late Rusi Mehta.

For those of you who don’t know, my grandfather was a Municipal Corporator from Foras Road for 23 years (1964-1987) before he was shot dead. That’s correct, he was riding his scooter around the Foras Road circle and was shot 4 times. Why you may ask? My grandfather, the Late Rusi Mehta, was fighting bootleggers in his constituency at the time and as is with public office, made a few enemies. Far too many, unfortunately. I still remember visiting the Doongerwadi for his final rights. I can never forget the sight of my grandfather’s body lying on the Pavri and I see the 4 bullet holes in his body. For a boy of 9, it definitely left a lasting impression. That night was also the first time I ever saw my father cry. This man who I always envisioned as the epitome of strength, was crushed by the loss of his father.

These memories remained with me as I grew up and the love I had for my family grew. The city of Mumbai decided to honour my grandfather and renamed the Foras Road circle as Rusi Mehta Chowk. My uncle then went on to be a Municipal Corporator in the same constituency for 20 years and my aunt for another 10 years. The yeoman service done by my family for almost 50  years, in an 85% Muslim populated area,  is till date spoken of with pride in our constituency.

The reason I took you quickly down memory lane was to ask the community if it is a crime to be a Viraf Mehta or Dinshaw Mehta’s son or Rusi Mehta’s grandson? Is it a crime to be a Mehta? I most definitely don’t think so and am in fact proud of it. But unfortunately there are some on my Board who have a problem with not only who I am, but who my father is or my grandfather is. So much so, that the prizes I wanted to have sponsored in my grandfather’s name are refused / denied if the same are given under my grandfather’s name. An individual whom the city of Mumbai respected and rewarded by naming a circle after him but our own community suddenly feels ashamed to honour.

To spell it out for you, I am talking about our Chairman of the BPP, Mr. Yazdi Desai. For the last two years he has instructed the Sir Ness Wadia Memorial Pavillion (SNWMP) committee  in Rustom Baug not to accept sponsorship from me in memory of my grandfather, Late Rusi Mehta. As I mentioned earlier, I have been a patron for years, but never has such a ludicrous and absurd request been made.

Last year, 2017, was the first time the committee first approached me with this silly request asking me to give the sponsorship in my name only and not my grandfather. I was taken aback. When I asked them why this extraordinarily unusual request, they told me that Yazdi Desai has instructed them not to take an ad in the name of my grandfather. He threatened them that if the committee still went ahead with it, then his sponsorship money as well as the BPP/WCM’s would be withdrawn. In the interest of the May Queen event along with the fright of the committee losing lakhs of rupees worth of sponsorship, they had no choice but to request me to give in to Yazdi’s bullying tactics and bail them out from the peculiar circumstances they found themselves in.

I thought long and hard on this. I could have easily pulled out my sponsorship if they didn’t let me honour my late grandfather. But I decided to be the bigger man and let it pass for the greater good of the community. I didn’t want the 25 year history of the May Queen to be tarnished by the dirty politics that the Chairman decided to indulge in to massage his ego. In the two and a half years that I have been a Trustee, and the twenty one years that my father was a Trustee/Chairman, I had never encountered a situation where someone was stopped from honouring the memory of their dearly departed.

Unfortunately this year things didn’t change either. As usual I committed patronage to the May Queen 2018. In fact when the committee Chairman met me over three months before the event, he was very keen that I commit to him over three months in advance to support this event, to which I agreed.

I emailed the Board stating I hope this year there would be no politics coming in the way of the glorious event and that I would like the sponsorship to be in the memory of my late grandfather. The reply I got from the SNWMP committee was rather upsetting. In their email thanking me for their support, they wrote

“You have always helped us and stood by us as our sponsor and patron.

Having said that, Viraf, we as a committee have taken a decision not to involve names of Family Members of any Trustee in our event sponsorship or media.

We know that you are our well wisher and we would be more that happy to receive your sponsorship in your name only.”

Once again I thought long and hard about pulling out my support. But a few committee members met me and explained that they didn’t have a choice but to send this email else Yazdi was going to ensure that the May Queen 2018 would get little or no help from the BPP and himself. I was informed that Yazdi called select committee members to his house and literally threatened them.

Last year Yazdi had an issue with my sponsoring in memory of my late grand father. This year he took it a step further and told the committee not to take any sponsorship from me at all. So desperate was he that neither I nor my family be patrons of this event, that he actually told the committee that he was willing to cover my sponsorship amount if they didn’t take any sponsorship from me.

Being a patron for so many years, the committee told Yazdi Desai that they couldn’t refuse my sponsorship. Yazdi relented and once again told them that if they had to take my sponsorship it could only be in my name and no one else’s. Again not to tarnish the May Queen image, I relented and gave the sponsorship in my name so that the event could continue smoothly.

A few days before the May Queen, I received a whatsapp forward of an email that Yazdi had written to the SNWMP committee when he learnt that the committee was accepting my sponsorship. Whatsapp forwards being what they are most of the time, I reconfirmed the message with not one or two but three different committee members of the SNWMP and they all agreed this email was indeed genuine and sent by Yazdi to the SNWMP Pavillion. In that email Mr Desai starts and ends by continuously defaming my father and indulging in blatant character assassination and name-calling.   Mr. Desai refers to my father as a criminal because of a case filed jointly by himself and Khojeste Mistry on fraudulent  charges. I say fraudulent because Mr. Desai himself has today admitted that he was wrong and misinformed.  The amount of money due from Musharraf was indeed 45 lakhs and not 65 lakhs as he had maintained in the press for over three years.

Going by that logic I have a colleague Trustee who not only has 2 FIRs against him, but even has 2 arrest warrants. But I do not wish to dwell on that. Nor do I ever use that as casually as Mr. Desai does when he publicly tries to defame my father.

Mr Desai’s rage didn’t stop there. He told the SNWMP committee that if Dinshaw Mehta comes then he would not attend. Mr. Desai forgets that my father was a Trustee of the BPP for 21 years and a Chairman of the BPP for 7 of those years. He told the committee not to invite my father and if possible, not to invite me either. The committee in their wisdom chose to stay away from the politics and continued to do what they, as a committee, felt was the right thing to do. They very graciously invited not only me as a Trustee of the BPP and a sponsor, but also invited my father, the ex-Chairman of the BPP, as well.

Friends, this is not the first time Mr. Desai has invented his frustrations on myself and my family. I can disclose email after email written by Yazdi to me where he has not only insulted me, but mocked my mother, labelled my father, questioned the honour of my grandfather, belittled his social service in one of the most run-down areas of Mumbai and then goes on to mock my entire family since they were born and brought up the hard way in Foras Road.

I know elections are around the corner and the Chairman’s wife is standing for elections. In fact I even attended one of Mrs. Desai’s meetings to get a chance to hear her views. But unfortunately using her platform as a tool, Yazdi decided to attack my father and I in his speech with half-truths and false statements. When I requested a chance to clarify the incorrect facts presented by Yazdi, I was very bluntly refused by the Chairman. In fact Yazdi went on to sermonise with the crowd about his views and why he supports his candidate.

Hearing him speak I just couldn’t stand to think of the two-faced nature of the gentleman I was watching talk. The hypocrisy was overwhelming. On one hand my parents, brothers, late grandfather, uncles, aunts and family are slanderously defamed and on the other hand this same man is talking of peace and harmony on the board.

  1. On 14th May 2018, the BPP Staff Association informed the Trustees that on May 25th they had organized a Deh Mahino nu Jashan and an annual evening function thereafter. All Trustees were invited to attend along with their family. On May 18th, I informed the BPP association that I would be attending along with my father, who was their Chairman for 7 years and a Trustee of the BPP for 21 years.

Noshir was kind enough to reply to me stating that :-
I am assuming parent, spouse, sibling, children is considered family. Hence, no permission or justification is necessary. It is a “thanks giving” Jashan ceremony, hence, offer your prayers, seek blessings and enjoy the function with peace and forgiveness for each other in your collective hearts.”

Later that day, the BPP association sent me an email which stated:-
The Committee members of the BPP Staff Association very humbly and sincerely solicit your cooperation and total support to have the morning Jashan and evening function go uneventful. i.e. without any untoward incident,. Hence we once again request you very sincerely to avoid participation of any of your family members. We really regret, for this request in view of the present situation.”

I was quite upset when I received such an usually rude email from the BPP Staff Association and went up to them and asked why was such a disrespectful email being sent by them to a  sitting Trustee. The BPP staff association member was very apologetic for sending the email but said that they had no choice. He informed me, in the presence of four senior administration, that the email was sent on the insistence of Chairman Yazdi Desai and constant follow up by the CEO whether the email was sent or not.

Yazdi instructed the BPP Staff association committee members they need to ensure that I cannot bring any of my family members to the Jashan or the evening function, basically stopping me from bringing my father along. And if I refused to comply, he threatened them that he would not attend either functions.

I wrote to Yazdi that it was absolutely pathetic that he chose to involve the staff in an inter-se Trustee dispute. Unfortunately the maturity displayed by Yazdi Desai in the exchange of emails that transpired was shocking. An extract of it is as follows:-

“Viraf. After you sent your mail, I only told Mahiyar that if Dinshaw Mehta is coming then I will not be attending the jashan and the evening function as I have decided not to attend any function where your crooked father is invited. I left it to them. But I guess the team would rather have the BPP chairman than a crooked man at the function so they sent this email to you. Inspite of their request, you can be shamless (as usual) and bring your Pappa along …. I wont be there. So please check the facts before farting around (as usual).”

Yazdi went on to call my father a “crook” and said that he was trying to “screw” the BPP.

The result of the above was – the BPP staff association chose to refrain from chosing sides and cancelled the evening function planned at Banaji Atash Behram Hall. The morning Jashan was finally attended by the staff and Mrs. Tirandaz and I were the only Trustees present.

  1. On 14th of May 2018, an issue was raised by the Panthaky baug association on the new vendors hired by the BPP for waste management. Before I could investigate the seriousness of the issue or try and find a solution, Yazdi jumped on this opportunity and wrote to the entire Board of Trustees and senior administration that :-

Under Viraf Mehta the Waste Collection Project has turned into GARBAGE!”

I tried to ignore these childish statements being made by the Chairman but Yazdi went on and on.
He called me “guttersnipe”, “LGTB pussycat”, “LTBG Foras Road Kamathipura pussycatand went on to insult my family.

In one email he states:-

 “Your upbringing from the gutters can take you no lower !”

In another email he says:-

 It is still not too late to rectify the past of a grandfather being shot dead at the junction of a “Red Light“ area (can one imagine) in a gang war (for obvious reasons); second generation of jobless corporators with a community acknowledged CHOR; and a third generation of drunkards and LGTBs…”

Yazdi is aware that every Monday for over 10 years I have been attending the Humbandagi at Banaji Atash Behram. Such was the venom Yazdi spewed onto me that he brought our Holy fire into his malicious attack and added:-

And keep praying on the Mondays humbandagi as God is kind enough to lift people from the gutters !!!”

Noshir had rightly pointed out to Yazdi in one of his emails, and I’d like to end this article, quoting him as under:-

1. Drop old baggage it is weighing all of us down.

  1. Stop name calling….only when a person runs out of intellectual ammunition that he resorts to name calling.
  2. As chairman set an example of graceful demeanour. You will dislike my saying this, but all the high handedness that you accused Dinshaw of is being displayed and exercised by you. Maybe it has something to do with that cursed chair.

Get your act together before it is too late. Neither that chair nor our life is forever. Be humble. Be graceful.”

My apologies if this letter got slightly long, but I couldn’t sit back anymore and let such deception, duplicity and two-facedness on the part of Yazdi Desai go unexposed.

After reading all of the above, do you really think we need another Desai on the Board?

 

May god save our community.

Best wishes,

Viraf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *