While a majority of Bombay Parsi Punchayet trustees feel the property should be reserved for Parsis only, its chairman says charity funds should not be spent on legal fees to make it community-specific.
Article by Jyoti Shelar | Mumbai Mirror
The question of changing the status of Silver Oaks, a plush property spread over 22,000 sq ft in Breach Candy, back to being exclusively for Parsis has divided the trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP).
While a majority of trustees feel BPP should intervene to get this done, chairman Dinshaw Mehta is against it as it would mean spending from the charity kitty.
The estate, owned by a charitable trust called the Sorabji Kanga Trust and estimated to be worth over Rs 1,000 crore, was converted for secular use way back in the 1990s. It is home to several high profile individuals, including NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.
The property was earlier restricted to having only Parsi beneficiaries and trustees. However, the trust changed the rules and a non-Parsi developer was also appointed.
“It is a massive property and the community needs to be benefit from it. We are completely against the secular use of the property. A majority of the trustees feel that BPP should intervene in larger interest of the community,” said BPP trustee Yazdi Desai.
In 2000, two former BPP trustees had approached the court on individual basis to stop the estate’s ‘secular’ status. Dinshaw Mehta was clear on the finance involved, saying trustees can intervene if they want but only by using their own money.
“I am completely against using BPP’s charity funds as we are already facing a crisis. Intervening would mean going to court and spending huge amounts on fighting the legal battle. BPP is already reeling after spending over Rs 3 crore on the renegade priests’ issue,” Mehta said.
He added that he is not against supporting the cause, but only against spending the charity money. “Also, this issue seems more like propaganda as the BPP elections are round the corner,” Mehta claimed.
A community member, who declined to be named, said BPP trustees are fighting over a property that belongs to a completely different trust. “They should concentrate on the properties that are governed by BPP and look into their problems,” he added.