Flat allotments sparked rift


July 10, 2006

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Acrimony has been vitiating the boardroom of the 350-year-old Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) for several months now. One of the ostensible reasons why four of the six trustees resigned on Tuesday was the allotment of community flats to friends and relatives of one of the trustees, Dinshaw Mehta.

The four trustees–Minoo Shroff, Maneck Engineer, Burjor Antia and Dinshaw Tamboly–accused Mehta of “masterminding” the allotment of two flats in the Rusi Mehta building at Godrej Baug, Napean Sea Road, from the Firuzgar Trust allotment, to the daughter of his friend.

Another flat in the same building was earlier allotted to another daughter of this friend. This, according to the four, was done without informing the BPP board.

“When the trustees wished to peruse the agreement with the Firuzgar Trust and other relevant data, we were shocked to be informed that the files pertaining to the Firuzgar Trust were missing and could not be located anywhere in the BPP office including the vaults.

Even more shocking has been the attitude of Mr Mehta who has been managing the affairs of Firuzgar Trust with BPP over the years but refusing to share information with the other trustees,” wrote three of the trustees to chairman Shroff in their resignation letters.

But Mehta hit back stating that the allotments were made unanimously by all the trustees on September 20, 2005. “Earlier, these flats were allotted to my step-sister and uncle in October 1992 by the then trustees at a time when I was not a trustee.

I became a trustee only on July 22, 1994. These allotments were in accordance with a scheme framed by the then trustees of the BPP in which various leading charitable trusts participated, including the Pirojsha Godrej Foundation, Hong Kong Trust, Shapoorji Pallonji Trust and Palkhiwala Trust,” says Mehta.

He further adds that there is nothing “legally or ethically or even morally objectionable in these allotments”. “I do sincerely believe that various forces opposed to me have come together, with each having an agenda of his own,” Mehta alleged.

In an earlier letter to the trustees, Mehta said that before any decision on the resignations was taken, the matter should be deliberated among the trustees in the presence of prominent members of the community.

He reiterated that the resignations were orchestrated in order to prevent him from becoming chairman when Shroff steps down from the post next year.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that industrialist Nusli Wadia is trying to intervene and broker a peace in the BPP.

Original article in the Times of India