The Deolali Agiary, on the verge of its centenary celebrations, was burgled on 20th August, 2016. Parsi Times’ Reporter Khushroo Mehta, on investigating into this unfortunate incident, received an email from Firdaus Kapadia, the Head Trustee of the Nasik Deolali Anjuman. The email read: “During the night of 20th August 2016 at about 3:45 am., thieves entered the Deolali Agiary and broke open two donation boxes. By the time the residents of the area could respond to the noise, the burglars had disappeared without a trace. An FIR was filed on 21st August with the police who are investigating the matter. The Commissioner of Police is taking a personal interest in the matter and visited the Agiary on 3rd September to assure the Trustees that the culprits would be traced soon.
Meanwhile, the sacred Padshah Saheb has been shifted to the newly constructed building behind the Agiary, which also houses the Priest quarters.”
Parsi Times got in touch with the investigating Police officer, Sub. Inspector Raghunath Narote of the Deolali Camp Police Station. Narote confirmed the arrest of Er. Homiyar Homi Sidhwa, the Mobed of Deolali Agiary for his involvement in the above theft.
The past week has seen a flurry of messages on social media and whatsapp speculating about the real culprit(s). One faction believes the statement put out by the police accusing the Mobed; whereas another believes it is a case of corruption, where the Trustees have allegedly orchestrated a set-up, wrongly framing Er. Sidhwa, and have conspired with the police in an under-the-table agreement. Both points of view have their basis. Whereas the former speaks of apprehending Er. Sidhwa in custody of the cash as he was exiting Deolali; the latter point of view holds its ground based on a few questions which does leave food for thought – why would Er. Sidhwa keep the money with him for over two weeks? How come he was checked out of the blue by the police at a naka bhandi when stopping rickshaws and opening bags is not heard of as a common practice? On the one hand, if it is unbecoming for us to treat our priests so disrespectfully and to understand his circumstances and dignify his standing; on the other hand we also want the culprit taken to account.
It is also said that Er. Sidhwa has been tending to his old father who is battling cancer. It would only be fair to all parties concerned to avoid further speculation and maligning those involved based on assumptions. Parsi Times will regularly provide follow-ups to keep our readers abreast of all ongoing developments.
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