Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Voter I-card demand lands Jeejeebhoy’s great grandson in a spot

Vijay V Singh | TNN

Mumbai: His great grandfather, Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy, is mentioned in history books as one of Mumbai’s biggest philanthropists but businessman and real estate tycoon Byram Jeejeebhoy may have, wittingly or unwittingly, entered Mumbai Police records.

The Malabar Hill police station, after being tipped off by the Special Branch, has registered a case of cheating against British national Jeejeebhoy for misrepresenting facts in order to obtain a voter’s identity card. The Special Branch first verified his details with the UK consulate before deciding to file the case.

TOI repeatedly tried to get in touch with Jeejeebhoy on Thursday for his side of the story but he was unavailable for comment.

The Special Branch, which deals with immigration, visas and passport-related issues of foreign citizens, was shocked when they learnt about Jeejeebhoy’s lineage. He is, after all, the great grandson of Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy, the man after whom the landmark J J Hospital and J J School of Arts are named.

“We registered an FIR on August 13 under IPC Sections 417 (cheating) and 419 (impersonation) in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of People Act,’’ a senior police officer said. The case has been registered at Malabar Hill police station because Jeejeebhoy resides on Napean Sea Road.

Jeejeebhoy, who is in his late fifties, is an accomplished violinist, a real estate tycoon, a pilot and is associated with numerous Parsi charities, including the Jeejeebhoy Dadabhoy Agiary (fire temple) in Colaba, the Byram Jeejeebhoy School and the Nanabhoy Jeejeebhoy Charity Trust. He was also one of the candidates who contested last year’s Bombay Parsi Punchayat elections.

But Jeejeebhoy is not the only citizen of a first-world country who is on the cops’ radar for a similar offence. The Special Branch has come across four such cases in the last three weeks. One of them, in Oshiwara police station, is against Swedish citizen Himanshu Patel, whose wife and daughter are Indian citizens. Himanshu would stay with them at their Andheri residence. Cops said he was not traceable.

“In most of these cases, the applicants own properties in India although they don’t have Indian citizenship,’’ said a senior police officer. He presumed this was because the Indian system placed great importance on the voter’s identity card but without the necessary stringent checks.

Lawyers say only a citizen of India is allowed to vote.

[Hat Tip: Mickie Sorabjee]