Email from Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, sponsor, Tenth World Zoroastrian Congress to seven trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet
November 28, 2013
Bombay Parsi Punchayet
209, Dr Dadabhai Naoroji Road
Sub : Postponement/Cancellation of 10th World Zoroastrian Congress
I have given lot of thought and consideration to the arguments of all the Trustees who are divided on whether the Congress should be cancelled or continued, along with various flyers from all over the world, copies of which have been sent to me.
In my view, the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress which is so close, must be held and not deferred or cancelled.
I do recognize that the four Trustees have bona fide reasons to feel aggrieved against the Chairman. However, the Chairman’s contention is that the allegations have not been proven and therefore, obviously, he cannot step down [this isthe principle of natural justice which cannot be denied to him]. This issue is a matter pertaining to the financial management of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet and technically has nothing to do with the management and running of the conference. Therefore, all decisions on the conference should be made independently.
I strongly urge all seven Trustees to find some via-media wherein the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress could be supervised and run independently as a special case to save the day; otherwise the cancellation would involve great embarrassment and scandal worldwide. Therefore, I hope that the Trustees will come upon a mutual, amicable and workable solution.
Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla
Email from four trustees to sponsor of the Tenth World Zoroastrian Congress Dr Cyrus Poonawalla
November 29, 2013
Dear Dr Poonawalla,
In response to your email dated 28th November, requesting us to re consider our discussion we have met and deliberated on this issue for many hours. As we are sure you will agree that our task as trustees, is to uphold and strengthen the fair name of the BPP which is over 300 yrs old.
However, as you know in recent weeks, we discovered serious irregularities perpetrated by our Chairman, Mr Dinshaw Mehta.
After much thought and concern to safe guard the well being of the trust, we trustees have filed a criminal complaint at the Economic Offences Wing – Crime Branch Mumbai against him.
In addition to the Police Complaint, we have also filed papers with the Charity Commissioner’s office in Mumbai to seek the removal of Mr Dinshaw Mehta , as a trustee of the BPP.
It’s because of these compelling and unexpected developments, that we thought it best to postpone the WZC, as the media attention both locally and internationally would tarnish the fair name of the BPP, if Mr Dinshaw Mehta was allowed to continue and importantly, host the forth coming Congress, as it’s chairman.
On the 27th of November 2013 , we received an email from Mr Maneck Davar, (a close friend of Mr Dinshaw Mehta) in which he suggested that Mr Dinshaw Mehta as well as 2 other trustees were willing to recuse themselves from the entire congress, but wished to be present as speakers/panellist.
We have deliberated further in the interests of the trust , community and the forth coming congress and have arrived at a decision which may meet your support.
We, as the majority trustees, are willing to host the Congress as scheduled, if Mr Dinshaw Mehta steps down as the chairman of the Congress and recuses himself totally from participating in all the activities of the congress, including its present decision making process.
If this is agreeable, the Congress can be put back on track without the image of the BPP being tarnished or sullied in anyway and likewise none of our foreign participants will be inconvenienced what so ever. We hope that you will see merit in what we have proposed.
We look forward to your goodwill and support for the smooth running of the Congress
With kind regards
Khojeste P Mistree
28th November, 2013
Bombay Parsi Punchayet
209, Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Road
Mumbai 400 001
I agree with Dr Cyrus Poonawalla that the WZC should not be defered or cancelled and should not be linked with allegations against the Chairman. The BPP is corrupt like any other public trust and must be dealt in an appropriate manner. I had personally made this statement of corruption in one of the Board meetings on another matter but it was refuted by the Trustees and now I find them toeing my line on corruption. Why postpone only the WZC. Postpone all transactions of the BPP, defer all past allotments, conduct an external audit of all transactions, also suspend the Housing Executive who is equally corrupt who also indirectly is the BPP Broker Defereing WZC as a standalone is not the solution.
If one were to dig deeper the figure of corruption at BPP will be in Cr’s. Investigate the other Trust where people are asked to pay partly to that Trust which is non refundable. Advertise in the media and ask people to come forward and give names of those Trust where they have paid over and above the amount of deposit paid to BPP.How can BPP agree to accept cash payments of 45/ 65 lakhs ? Who received / deposited the cheques after the story broke out? In GBaug the BPP rate is Cr + and I am surprised a prime property at Fort measuring 1056 carpet went so cheap. Ms Arnavaz Mistry who has switched sides was a signatory to this agreement and my question to her directly is on what grounds did she along with Mr Cama and Ms Armaity sign the deal? Are they not educated enough to enusre that as custodians they have a responsibility and are not merely rubber stamps.Had the deal not been exposed their signatures would have incurred a loss of revenue to the BPP. By their actions are they qualified even to be on the Board . They should also be made a party along with the Chairman. Merely by withdrawing signatures does not absolve them of the crime. Make them a party and they will open a can of worms. By putting their signatures jointly they have encouraged this wrong doing. They still remain partners in crime as the deal is through and not cancelled. This will be challenged in the court.
From information that is available in the media. It is an open and shut case but the 4 Trustees are not in a position to control and handle the situation and hence the EOW and Charity Commissioner are being involved. To hang a man without trial is not justice and more worse is to make the community suffer because of it, is the ultimate injustice .The only people who will probably in my opinion based on their conduct that we read in the media benefit from this is the Investigators , the Lawyers and The Administrator who will hit the jackpot
Just because of the 7 Trustee’s are not able to resolve the issue and come to a consensus why should the community at large across the world be made to suffer because of this infighting? Thousands have made plans to visit Mumbai for the WZC and 4 people deicde to call it off without taking the community in to confidence. I think the community has not empowered the Trustees to take such decisons of calling off an important meet such as the WZC. Without sounding rude none of them are qualified to call it off in the first place without taking the community’s viewpoint. All Trustees are Custodians and not owners of the BPP.
I am surprised at this pimp like brokering a compromise taking place at the BPP and are entertained by Trustees. Who is this gentlemen to advocate for the Chairman and has the audacity to put forth conditions to the Trustees?
In the interest of the community I feel the Trustees should put aside their differences and hold the WZC as a united front. Let me remined the 4 Trustees that initially they had brokered an arrangement that the Chairman would continue until the WZC is over. If I may go as far as to suggest to conduct a vote in all colonies or invite the community at a common place and take a vote if the Chairman can Chair the WZC or he should abstain in view of the serious charges.
THE WZC MUST NOT BE CALLED OFF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PLEASE. THIS IS ON MY WISH LIST.
Arzan J Ghadially
SYSTEM OF ELECTION REQUIRES REFORMS. AT PRESENT NO TRUSTEE IS QUALIFIED SOCIAL WORKER. AT LEAST ONE SHOULD BE. CANDIDATES SHOULD NOT USE MONEY POWER TO CONTEST ELECTIONS WHICH HAS BEEN DONE BY ALL. SO THEY SHOULD STEP DOWN AND FRESH FREE ELECTIONS SHOULD BE CALLED FOR. CONGRESS SHOULD GO ON WITHOUT TRUSTEES
The Question on Hand is Should the World Zoroastrian Congress be Held or not in the light of controversies surrounding the BPP.
My response is not as a reply to any comments on record but purely my personal stand wrt the question on hand.
The famous Shakespearean Question “To Be or Not to Be?”
These are difficult times for our community. The purity of our Zoroastrian Legacy is being muddied all over the place. Our Community has always been widely respected by one and all but the present undesired chain of events which involves the apex body of our community in Mumbai is tarnishing the image of true Bawajis.
Keeping in mind the present imbroglio, which in my opinion “All the present Trustees are responsible for”; we should not indulge in finger pointing as the issues raised have been handed over to external investigating agencies (here too, I differ on the handling of the whole situation) and therefore now, we as a community should maintain calm and balance and not become the Prosecutor, Defense and Judge n Jury all rolled in one.
The legal system of our country does not denounce any one guilty unless proven so, therefore, need of the hour is to remain unbiased in our opinions and allow the inquiries to be completed.
Till such time, it is the duty of all the present Trustees to conduct the affairs of BPP by finding a working formula and allow smooth functioning of the BPP. This would include the holding of World Congress.
The global Zoroastrian Community has imposed faith in us, in giving us this honour of staging the World Zoroastrian Congress and we as true Zoroastrians should carry the responsibility thru irrespective of the unfortunate circumstances we find ourselves in.
The Present Trustees should lead from the front and unitedly focus on the successful organisation of the World Zoroastrian Congress keeping their differences aside. All the Trustees should participate under a strict code of conduct that they shall not use the platform of World Zoroastrian Congress to air their personal views on the present controversies.
Honestly, I am not in favour of conditional staging of World Zoroastrian Congress (i.e. forced reclusal of any Trustee) as that would effectively mean that the concerned person is being punished based on unproven accusations (lets accept it, that this is the present status, any one may like it or not), which is against all cannons of natural justice.
It is the duty of all the Present Trustees to ensure that the World Zoroastrian Congress is successfully concluded and the controversial issues are not allowed to interfere in the staging of World Zoroastrian Congress.
The true spirit of Zoroastrianisim should prevail.
Yazdan Panahbad – Athajamiat Yathaafrinami
Clean chit for Mehta
The Economic Offences Wing senior inspector of police Dinesh Joshi has written to Bombay Parsi Punchayet trustee Yazdi Desai on December 19, 2013 stating the complaint made against BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta regarding receiving cash for a tenancy transfer in Dady House “has been closed, as a case is not made out for registration of an F.I.R. (First Information Report)” The complaint was filed by BPP trustees Arnavaz Mistry, Jimmy Mistry, Khojeste Mistree and Desai.
Trustees Armaity Tirandaz and Muncherji Cama did not sign the complaint.
All legal entities have “external audits” and many have “internal audits” too.
They are mandatory.
The BPP has an “external auditor” for ages.
Dinshaw Mehta has been exculpated by the Mumbai Police.
God bless Dinshaw Mehta.
May his son succeed him as BPP Trustee.
We all loved those erotic calendars printed by ZYNG + WAPIZ.
The ZYNG calender is the greatest “Revelation” to mankind after the Gathas, and the Ten Commandments.
We hope the subsequent calendars are more revealing.