Editor of Parsi weekly in trouble over bounced cheques

Afternoon Dispatch & Courier – Bombay,India

Says creditor wants to extract more money than is due to him..

The Metropolitan Magistrate at the Ballard Pier Court, after hearing the bounced cheques’ case, was convinced enough to award one month simple imprisonment to Rusi Adi Dhondy, Editor, Jam-E-Jamshed, a Parsi weekly.

The Magistrate M.B.Datye, further ordered that he should immediately pay the amount of Rs. 25 lakh due to the complainant Phiroz Homi Lilaowala. In case of Dhondy not paying up the full compensation of Rs. 25 lakh to the complainant within a month, he would have to undergo further imprisonment for a period of one year and that would be rigorous imprisonment, the court observed.

Petitioner Lilaowala had filed a litigation against Rusi, contesting that Rusi had taken a loan of Rs. 18.5 lakh from Lilaowala in the year 1997. He had issued 11 post-dated cheques in lieu of the loan amount. However, the cheques bounced. In spite of several promises and undertakings, Dhondy failed to make any payment. According to the complainant, Dhondy issued some further cheques to him (Lilaowala) in the year 2003, as part payment against the above-referred loan, which also bounced.

When Lilaowala approached the Magistrate, the Magistrate mentioned that offence under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments’ Act has been proved beyond reasonable doubt and the accused has to be convicted, but in view of his age (55 years) and his position as editor, his plea for a lenient view had been considered. The court has awarded Rusi an opportunity to file an appeal against the order of imprisonment.
However, during the course of the case, it was observed that there were several criminal cases pending against Shri Rusi Dhondy in various Courts of Mumbai under similar charges for bouncing of cheques issued by him to various parties. However, since most of his victims included pensioners and old people, they had not been able to pursue the cases in court.

Rusi Dhondy has already filed his appeal against the above sentence in the Sessions court seeking a stay on the order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate. According to him, the court has already stayed the order of imprisonment. Dhondy, however refused to further comment on the entire issue. “I cannot comment on the case since it is sub judice,” said Dhondy