Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Fraudster Aspi Satarawala

Last week, on June 11, 2009, Parsi Khabar linked to an article in the Times of India titled “NRI Parsi asked to Pay for Dad’s upkeep”. Within an hour we retracted that post. A few of you got the post in your email newsletters and found a non-active  link, wrote to us. Rarely have we ever pulled an article out of circulation after it has been published. However, knowing that the article contained false information, bordering on outright lies, we could not go ahead and let it remain online, without a proper rebuttal. We hope that our readers will agree with us on this stance.

Most times we read news articles and move on. News is something that is happening to “them” and we are mere readers to the aftermath of the event. However once in a while the news hits home, when the people in the news are those we know.

That is exactly what happened when I read the article titled “Pay for dad’s upkeep, court tells NRI son” published in the Times of India dated June 09, 2009 by TOI reporter Yagnesh Mehta.

The article talks about how an NRI son abandoned his old father and refuses to pay for dad’s upkeep.

The “son” in the article just turns out to be Pesi Satarawala, a dear friend of many years now, who lives in New Jersey with his wife and two kids. However I did not relate the Pesi in the article to the friend I know because of the numerous factual errors in the article. However Pesi did let me know that he was “the Pesi in the article” and the first he knew about this was when a friend from Poona forwarded the link to him.

Aspi Satarawala, the “father” in the article, and Pesi have not met in 34 years. Pesi is now 41 years old. This is because, one fine day after Pesi’s navjote at the age of seven, his father walked out of his and his mother Villoo’s life. Villoo Mamma, as we all knew here, passed away last July.

Aspi abandoned his wife and only child all these years ago, without any money at the complete mercy of strangers in a strange city. Through sheer hardwork, dedication and a zeal to succeed Villoo raised Pesi, educated him, and left no stone unturned as a single parent.

Where was Aspi all those years? Missing in action. The article claims that he paid for Pesi’s MBA. Well that would be great, however Pesi does not have an MBA degree. He did his Diploma in IT from NIIT Pune through a scholarship he received in Pune. The article claims that Aspi got his son married.  Aspi was not invited and was not present at Pesi’s wedding. His uncle stood as the head of the family and was witness to the wedding.

The article states that Pesi, is not currently in Chennai. His in-laws live there, and the last time he was in Chennai was just before Villoo Mamma passed away.

The TOI article is flawed at many levels. Even tabloids and rags would verify information before printing it and in the process defaming the subjects referred to in the article.

Over the years Aspi Satarawala has been known to defraud people from all walks of life. Born with a silver spoon, he single-handedly dismantled the family fortune and wasted away the money. And since then its always been a cat and mouse game to somehow get money out of gullible unsuspecting people and then disappear.

For such a fraudster this is yet another scheme to sponge off money from his “America settled” son, the same one who grew up with only memories and no presence of an abusive father that never was. Indian laws have a provision where children need to take care of their parents in their old age. A fantastic and “idealist” notion that was made into law for all the right reasons. Alas, this is a case where it is being used for all the wrong reasons.

Pesi Satarawala is currently pursuing legal avenues to get this mysterious “court order” dealt with.

If you have a moment and feel strongly about this issue, please leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: This article contains my thoughts, solely; and no one else’s.