Parsi Punchayet trustees fight in court, file assault cases against each other

A Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) trustee and its former chairman filed criminal complaints against each other after a fight at Ballard Pier magistrate court on Thursday.

Kersi Randeria, the trustee who said he sustained eye and shoulder injuries in the fight, was admitted to a hospital and discharged on Friday morning. Dinshaw Mehta, a former trustee, said Randeria had hit his son Hormuz, who was representing him as a lawyer, causing him to faint.

Article by Manoj R Nair | Hindustan Times

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The magistrate was hearing a criminal complaint filed in January 2014 by Khojeste Mistree, who was then a BPP trustee, against Mehta, the then chairman of the trust, accusing him of collecting Rs25 lakh from a businessman for tenancy rights to a trust-owned property in Fort. The BPP is one of the biggest landlords in Mumbai and manages over 4000 flats in community housing estates across the city, land, and commercial premises. It also manages fire temples and the 50-acre Tower of Silence cemetery in Malabar Hill. The BPP has seven trustees who are elected by the community.

“As we stepped out, Hormuz said unpleasant things. Dinshaw was hitting me with a piece of concrete. My eye went blank and I was lifted and taken to the courtroom. The judge asked us to file a police complaint,” said Randeria.

Randeria was taken to St George Hospital near CST and then shifted to JJ Hospital, Byculla, from where he was discharged after a CT scan and other tests ruled out any serious injury.

Mehta denied he hit Randeria. “I am a 75-year-old man. He [Randeria] is double my size and he is accusing me of hitting him? My finger could have accidentally poked his eye or he could have had an eye infection,” said Mehta. “Why was he in the court? It was a private complaint filed by Mistree.”

Senior police inspector Sukhlal Varpe from MRA Marg police station said, “After the court proceedings on Thursday, the two parties had a fight outside the premises and arrived at the police station. We have only registered cross complaints.”

On Friday, online community forums were filled with comments about the ‘street fighters’ who had brought shame to the BPP. Mistree, who was in court when the incident occurred, said, “It is sad and shocking that community leaders and elders have stooped to this level.”

 

 

Street fight stuns community which prides on its etiquette – Parsi Punchayet trustee, ex-head come to blows

Article by Jyoti Shelar | Mumbai Mirror

Trustee Kersi Randeria, former punchayet chairman Dinshaw Mehta, and the latter’s son, Hormuz, clash outside the Magistrate’s Court over a SoBo property deal mired in corruption allegations

The Parsi community, known for its genteel manners, was left stunned on Thursday when a trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet came to blows with the punchayet’s former chairman and his son outside the Magistrate’s Court in Ballard Pier. The fight continued at St George Hospital in Fort where the three men were sent to treat the injuries suffered during the fracas, which eventually ended with both parties filing police complaints against each other. The eyewitnesses said that the drama had started in the courtroom itself, around 4 pm, when a punchayet trustee, Kersi Randeria, allegedly dared former chairman Dinshaw Mehta and his lawyer son Hormuz to a physical confrontation.

The court was hearing an application demanding a probe into a 2013 deal regarding the tenancy rights of Dadi House, a commercial property in Bora Bazaar owned by the punchayet. Mehta, who was the punchayet chairman at that time, was accused of misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 20 lakh by a few punchayet trustees, including Randeria.

“The court had given us time to file a written application to hear our version of events regarding the deal,“ Mehta’s son Hormuz said. “While we were walking out, Randeria shouted at my father, demanding that we `return their money’. I was livid at his behavior and told him that my father was at least respected by his wife,“ Hormuz said.

Hormuz’s retort allegedly led to Randeria asking him and Mehta to meet him outside the court premises.“He was blinded by rage and pushed me, causing me to fall. I had recently had a neck surgery and this attack worsened my condition,“ Hormuz alleged. Randeria and Mehta have been baying for each other’s blood since July 2013, when the tenancy rights for Dadi House were sold. Mehta said the rights were sold for Rs 45 lakh, but one of the then trustees, Yazdi Desai, alleged that the deal was settled at Rs 65 lakh.

A police complaint was filed and the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing subsequently gave Mehta a clean chit, but another punchayet trustee, Khojestee Mistry, approached the court against Mehta saying there were “unexplained discrepancies“ in the deal.

The allegations against Mehta took a serious turn when cash amounting to Rs 21 lakh was found in the cupboard of the punchayet’s late CEO Mehli Colah, who passed away in December 2013 and his cupboard was opened in September 2014. Randeria insisted that Thursday’s fracas was entirely started by Mehta and Hormuz, saying Hormuz had in fact pushed him and Mehta followed it up by assaulting him with a stone.“Hormuz made an extremely crude and vulgar comment about my family and pushed me. Suddenly, Dinshaw Mehta also attacked me with a stone,“ Randeria said.

Randeria suffered a ruptured blood vessel in the eye (sub-conjunctival hemorrhage), while Hormuz’s mobility has been restricted due to injury to the neck. The policemen broke up the fight and presented both parties before the judge, who advised that they be sent to hospital.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Manoj Sharma said that complaints against both parties have been registered at the MRA Marg Police Station, even as the community members termed such a behaviour as “unheard of among Parsis“.

Jehangir Patel, who edits the community magazine Parsiana, said, “I have been covering the Parsi community since 1973, and this is the lowest that it has come down to. Such public spats, drama outside the courtroom, and then in the hospital in presence of cops… it had never been like this.“

Homi Dalal, a 71-year-old resident of Cama Park in Andheri, called the fight “disgusting and disgraceful“.“The bickering among the present and the past trustees has been going on for long but such attacks are uncalled for,“ Dalal said, even as Viraf Kapadia, a resident of Godrej Baug, said such incidents showed Parsis in bad light. “We are a community of learned people and such incidents spoil our image,“ he said.