Hong Kong-based Parsi tycoon Jal Shroff may withdraw his offer to donate Rs 150 crore to Parsi General Hospital (PGH) after March 31 if challenges to a controversial agreement are not resolved by then. Shroff arrived here on Wednesday, even as the joint charity commissioner on March 15 will hear an application challenging the deal signed between the PGH management and Gurugram-based Medanta Group.
Article by Nauzer K Bharucha | TNN
Some Parsis moved the charity commissioner’s office on the ground that PGH is surrendering part of its 10-acre Breach Candy plot to Medanta for 45 years without a lease agreement or adequate safeguards. The hospital’s managing committee denied the charge and claimed no part of the land will be alienated.
It has now come to light that the agreement was not stamped, as required under Maharashtra Stamp Act, 1958. “It was not registered with Sub-Registrar of Assurances too, as required under Indian Registration Act, 1908,’’ said the applicants, Zoru Bhathena and Aspi Deboo. Shroff ’s donation will be used to build a hospital building inside the PGH complex. The new building will then be handed over to Medanta to operate for up to 45 years. Part of the proceeds and 5% of gross revenue from the new hospital will cross-subsidise the 106-year-old PGH, which is incurring a loss of Rs 6 crore annually.
“The agreement is nothing but a lease of a substantial part of the property for 45 years in favour of Medanta, without sanction of the charity commissioner, as required by Section 36 of the Act,’’ the applicants said. “The agreement, as it stands today, is an attempt by the respondents to improperly alienate a substantial portion of the property in favour of Medanta, and is therefore legally void and cannot be acted upon by the parties. The agreement was carefully structured and designed merely to circumvent safeguards provided under the Act for alienation of trust property,’’ said the application.
Another challenge raised by advocate Khushru Zaiwala, to be heard by the joint charity commissioner on March 15, sought dismissal of the PGH managing committee. “The managing committee of the hospital trust, constituted only for internal management of the same, are collaborating and colluding with each other, to transfer a substantial area of the hospital, worth over Rs 2,000 crore, to Medanta Corporation under the guise of a management contract,’’ it said. It sought an injunction against the hospital management from transferring the property to a third party (Medanta) without calling for “best offers’’ through advts/public auction, followed by the charity commissioner’s permission. The PGH management said, “Only alleging of charges is not important, it has to be proved with documentary evidence. The applicant hopelessly failed to bring documents on record to prove the charges. On this ground, the application may be rejected with heavy costs.’’