Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

BPP Trustee Yazdi Desai & Anahita Desai Arrested & Released on Bail in Defamation Case

Yazdi Desai, BPP and WAPIZ Trustee and his wife Anahita Desai as well as Mr. Shashikant Jadhav, publisher of The Afternoon – Despatch & Courier newspaper were released on bail of Rs. 10,000/- each, by the Metropolitan Magistrate Court on 15/5/2012 in a defamation case filed by builder Zarir Bhathena of Hilla Builders.

Printed in the Parsi Times.

The case, which was filed in 2006, finally resulted in the Magistrate issuing summons the accused, which includes, Mr. Areez Khambatta (of Rashna fame) a Trustee of WAPIZ and BPP and WAPIZ Trustee Khojeste Mistree.

In February 2006 the WAPIZ page had attacked Bhathena on the issue of Hilla Towers, which was constructed on the Lalbaug Agiary grounds. Bhathena had issued a legal notice demanding an apology, which WAPIZ ignored. Thereafter Bhathena filed a complaint under Sections 500, 501 and 502 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

WAPIZ in its brief history is known for attacks on individuals through its paid advertisements. Initially these "advertisements" appeared in the Afternoon newspaper and subsequently moved to the Free Press Journal.

One of the most shocking attacks in recent times was the attack on a retired judge and a Senior Counsel during the Renegade Priest case. The High Court had passed strictures against the WAPIZ team and had ordered them to publish an apology. Sadly, WAPIZ never did that much to the shame of the entire Community.

Two of the other accused were not present in court for differing reasons. Areez Khambatta was not issued the summons as he stays in Ahmedabad and Khojeste Mistree was in Pakistan.

The order to issue process (summons) was passed on 8th March 2011. Parsi Times is informed by sources close to both sides that a truce had been called after the order had been passed and the issue of process was not pressed. At that time Zarir Bhathena was involved in negotiating with the Bombay Parsi Punchayet for the sale of Panthaky Baug plots and probably was not inclined to rock the boat by antagonizing the WAPIZ/ BPP Trustees. The sale went through recently freeing Bhathena from his shackles. When a case involving alleged parking area of Hilla Towers was pressed in the High Court recently, Bhathena pressed the defamation case.

The relations between WAPIZ and Bhathena have been strained (to be polite) since many years. Both sides have published paid advertisements in newspapers putting forward their views and counter views. WAPIZ of course have always skated on thin ice* when it came to making allegations and uncharitable comments about their "enemies". The "truce" that was called was for commercial considerations. It was bound to break – and it did. •

The result is that Yazdi Desai and Anahita Dcsai have been arrested and now released on bail by the Court. The fate of Areez Khambatta and Khojeste Mistree will probably be decided when the case comes up for hearing on the next date which has been decided as 21st July, 2012. Parsi Times will keep you in loop.

Article forwarded via email by Behroz Sidhwa