Truth be Told!

Dear Community members, The last few months have been very trying and tiring for all of us. I have been writing regularly to get our community to stand together and strong in this fight against COVID. Our community has sadly lost almost 200 members due to this infection and this number increases week after week, despite the dip in COVID in Mumbai. As you are aware, vaccines were in short supply however from what we are now given to understand, the flow of vaccines should be steadily available in Mumbai with more vaccination centres opening in the coming weeks.

Our BPP Helpline remains active for any requirement any community member may have. A special mention should also be given to many community workers such as Rumi Zarir and Tehmton Dumasia who despite the tough times have stood and supported this community.

During this pandemic, the Trustees have tried to do all within their capacity to serve the community. Unfortunately whilst under the leadership of Mrs. Tirandaz, we have been working to serve, some of my colleague Trustees have been indulging in petty politics even at a time like this. Today our community is in need for unity and not pettiness. There is no doubt that when there are multiple minds at work there are bound to be clashes. Presently, one of my colleagues is to most actions taken by the present Board of Trustees. Kersi Randeria is disgruntled because the current Trustees are of the view that every resident of a BPP flat should have the right to encash their tenancy. This (i) reduces litigation between the BPP and resident, (ii) allows the BPP to receive funds and (iii) also allows the outgoing tenant to earn some funds. Kersi Randeria has been opposed to this system even before I became a Trustee. Sadly, even today, Kersi Randeria tries every trick in the book such as (i) putting disclaimers of his dissent to the auction notices and (ii) also as far as I have heard making calls to potential bidders telling them not to bid for BPP flats as soon there will be more flats than Parsis. This unfortunately is the sad state of affairs within the Board room.

We (Mrs. Tirandaz, Mr. Dastur and myself) are vehemently opposed to putting any kind of burden on community members. Increase of service charges is a burden most community residents were forced and threatened with by the earlier majority Trustees. However, we have no such ambition or aim to burden residents. Instead, we feel that encashing of tenancy rights provides a steady flow of funds to assist the BPP.

In the Parsi Times news papers of Kersi Randeria of 29th May 2021, he has sadly made some petty allegations and I feel it is my duty to state the truth

Service Charges: In July 2020, Chairman Mrs. Tirandaz, Trustee Xerxes Dastur and myself, unanimously discontinued the additional 750 rupees service charge that was imposed on our beneficiaries from February 2017.

Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Pheroze Amroliwala and other community activists, the service charges were discontinued.. A hue and cry is being made about an apparent waiving of charges of a handful of people who protested the same earlier. Let me state once again for the record that the outstanding payment of Rs. 750 for any resident has NOT been waived. It has only been differed for the time being. All arrears of this service charges of Rs. 750/ pm for the period of February 2017 to August 2020, a period of 43 months amounting to Rs. 32,250/ will be collected by the BPP in due course following due process. Just because Mr. Randeria does not like a few of the individuals who have not paid, we are not going to commence mindless litigation against beneficiaries spending way more funds on litigation than collection of charges. For those who have paid in advance beyond August 2020, no refund will be given but instead we will be adjusting that against future rent. The question of Refund to the 2700 residents who paid under duress imposed by Kersi Randeria himself amounting to around Rs. 8 to 10 crores is out of the question due to the acute financial condition of the Trust.

In yesterday’s PT he suggests that we should refund everyone the Rs. 750 service charge paid over the last few years just because a few handful of people haven’t paid, people he has publicly admitted he doesn’t like. He further tries to mask he vengeful pettiness by saying that people in covid times need the additional money. It is shocking that this is the same person who thrust these service charges upon the community beneficiaries and thereafter informed custodians not to take rent of the beneficiaries who have not paid the service charges. He is the same person who has admitted that he has made phone calls to residents threatening them that he would file a case against them should the service charges not be paid. Mr. Randeria claims people need the additional cash during these times. In fact, Let me inform the community that we have got less than 15 calls in the last 2 months on our BPP Helplines asking for financial help. Most of the calls have been in relation to vaccinations. Our helpline is still open for those in need of financial help so I request those needing financial aid to please use it.

Leaking Information:

Mr. Randeria seems to not like the fact when the truth is laid out in the open for all to know and instead makes false and baseless allies against others. It will be interesting for you to know that Mr Randeria and his colleague have been ‘leaking’ information for the last 10 years when it suited them. In fact, earlier this year after one of our Tuesday Board meetings, Mr. Randeria, Chairman Mrs Tirandaz and myself were taking the elevator down when Mr. Randeria admitted to Chairman Tirandaz and myself that he has intentionally leaked the extract of the minutes of a BPP meeting pertaining to Dr. Zuleika Homavazir to Mr. Deboo so that he could forward it on WhatsApp groups to prejudice voters, to ensure she lost the election. If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can ask Mrs. Tirandaz. All information that is published in the Parsi Junction is information the community should be made aware of: (a) majority Trustees spending over Rs. 50 Lakhs of charitable funds on lawyers fees to oppose the minority Trustees (b) allotting flats to friends by lying to us Trustees, c) finalising for Rs. 8 lakhs donation a flat which had an offer of Rs. 60 lakhs and for which the allottee himself was ready to pay Rs. 30 lakhs but as Deposit and not Donation d) paying Rs. 5 crores to BMC through some dubious middleman who charged Rs. 30 lakhs as consultant fees. I can go on but to what avail. From a reading, it is clear that the Parsi Junction reports the facts that take place as they are. However, unlike the Parsi Junction, Kersi Randeria’s psycho online Khol paper makes false vile defamatory statements continuously about the current majority Trustees and their entires families, even those deceased.

The Dissenting Trustee:

Ever since Trustee Zaheer Bhatena passed away and ex-Chairman Yazdi Desai was unable to attend to the BPP, Trustee Kersi Randeria has done everything in his power to not only stall the progress of the BPP but also try and stop any and every avenue for the BPP to earn revenue. He has earned himself the nickname “The Dissenting Trustee”. Just recently I told Mr. Randeria that he doesn’t always have to oppose any and everything the Board proposed to do. We need to work together. The community is aware that Mr Randeria keeps printing his dissent notes to our auction of flats. Just before the lockdown last year, exChairman Yazdi Desai had proposed to the Board that we move contempt of Court proceedings against Mr. Randeria in the High Court as well as file 41D application before Charity Commissioner for removal of Kersi Randeria as a Trustee as he was constantly working against the interest of the Trust. Sadly Mr. Desai fell ill soon after probably due to the tension created by Kersi Randeria and unfortunately nothing in this matter was taken forward.

Mr. Randeria has been the biggest proponent to stop the auction of flats from 2015, which had been stopped by the Charity Commissioner in November 2013, until recently. For six years the BPP had NO revenue stream while our employee salaries, overheads and building repair costs just kept mounting away.With none of our projects having kicked off, the only source of revenue at the moment is auctioning of flat. Even legal luminaries to High Court Judges agree to the same. So while Mr. Randeria prints his dissent in his own Paris Times as well as JameJamshed whose Editorial Rights also he has purchased from the Owner, he refuses to accept the harsh reality of it all. With interest rates constantly dropping it is impossible for the BPP to survive on the interest of its deposits. The deposits of the BPP grew from 14cr to over 250 cr from 1997 to 2015 only through this scheme. And because Mr. Randeria used his majority to stop these auctions for four years, the BPP today is not only struggling to pay staff salary on time but also has to delay doles to the poor, payments to second and third child, medical and educational aid, and other welfare activities.

Besides the auctions, the only other possibility of a revenue stream to save the BPP is the Godrej Baug ownership building. However, there too Mr. Randeria has convinced his colleagues to squander crores of charitable funds by paying Rs. 5 crores till day as land under construction tax for this building which has been lying undeveloped for over 10 years. A few years ago I had proposed we move Court against this tax, but I was shot down by Mr. RAnderia himself and his majority who didn’t want to pay a few lakhs in legal fees . But ironically he convinced his majority to spend Rs. 35 lakhs to pay his “consultant” friends to stop this tax. But instead of paying a few lakhs in legal fees against this, the BPP has unfortunately paid Rs. 5 cr till date (+35 lakhs to his consultant) and now has a yearly liability of 90 lakhs on a building that hasn’t even been touched in decades. Finally better sense has prevailed with the Board and we are not paying any more of this tax and will be moving court against this tax and Kersi’s consultant friends. In the mean while we will be asking the architect to move on this project to get permissions in place so that we can start to monetize this 200 cr + project.

Regarding vaccination The BPP should be focusing on getting the community vaccinated and providing for a respectable funeral for our deceased. In this regard, Masina Hospital and Breach Candy Hospital have stepped up immensely and a big thank you to them. With vaccines are available and for those interested in taking the vaccine please contact our helpline or myself and we will get you signed up. Please get vaccinated and stay safe. And I hope my future articles can be about a unified BPP.


Viraf D. Mehta