BPP Connect

BPP Chairman Yazdi Desai


The present Board of Trustees, of which I’m privileged to be the Chairman, is a dynamic board driven by compassion and dedicated to the cause of the community. It is my pleasure to inform you that in the last 15 months, this Board has allotted 90 flats to the deserving members of the community – which is a record of sorts! When I was a first-time Trustee of the last Board under Dinshaw Mehta’s Chairmanship, only 75 flats were allotted in 7 years!!! Let me also clarify, for the record, that we were unable to allot flats over the last 22 months due to the stay order put in against the Trust by Dinshaw Mehta. However, we must also recognize that despite that, the last Board allotted only 75 flats in 62 months – more than 5 years! As newcomer Trustees we were not able to comprehend that Dinshaw Mehta’s prime intention was to sell off these flats to the more financially privileged class of the community, as a result of which 55 flats were sold off and many others remained unoccupied and non-allotted.

My present Board is so alive to the plight of the needy, that those who are genuinely and desperately in need of a house are virtually allotted one on the spot! This proactive work of the new, present Board is now known within the community as a result of which, every week, at least half a dozen families / couples come to meet us in desperate need of shelter. Miraculously, every week the BPP gets in its possession 2-3 flats by way of surrender, amicable settlement of a legal case or demise of a lone occupant. The community recognizes this effort of the new Board and we get dozens of congratulatory messages and phone calls recognizing our dedication to the welfare of the community. The new Board has achieved this inspite of various hurdles put in our path by Dinshaw Mehta who is unequivocally supported by his son and current Trustee Viraf and Trustee Armaity Tirandaz.

A Brief Note on Legal Battle: Strange as it is, after Munchi Cama tendered his resignation, it was Dinshaw Mehta who raised an objection and not Munchi Cama. In fact, Cama’s allergy to this litigation can be seen from the fact that for over five months, Cama had not even filed his say in this matter. However since then, things have taken a turn for the worse and Dinshaw Mehta has spared no effort to create more problems for this present Board.

The Munchi Cama Change Report:

Munchi Cama had filed an application seeking an injunction against the present Board to prevent them from carrying out any activity – financial, administrative or charity. This application is surprisingly being supported by 2 of our present Trustees Viraf Mehta and Armaity Tirandaz, whose lack of commitment to work for the welfare of the community and its lesser privileged members, has been thoroughly exposed.

In the last week Munchi Cama along with Kersi Sethna a crony of Dinshaw Mehta has filed 2 more cases against the BPP in the Charity Commissioner’s (CC) office, seeking to prevent the Board from continuing to carry out any work – financial, administrative or charity.

Let me clarify to the community that Munchi Cama tendered his resignation of his own volition without any external pressures or influence. He went to the extent of stating in his resignation letter that an administrator be appointed. The BPP filed a Change Report in the CC’s office. It is important for the community to know that since his resignation on 16th June 2015, Munchi Cama who claims that he is still a trustee of the BPP, has not attended a single BPP meeting since 12th May 2015, nor has he attended a single hearing of his own Resignation Case Change Report since the time the Change Report was filed by the BPP in June 2015.

Whether the resignation, and its subsequent acceptance, is legally correct and whether change has taken place is what is being determined by the CC’s office. As in every other matter, both sides will be bound by the orders passed by the appropriate authority. It is simply a case of the CC deciding on the basis of evidence, facts and chronology of events. Surprisingly, Cama and Dinshaw Mehta, who had moved the High Court pushing for an expedited hearing, recently moved the HC once again, asking that the hearing be delayed beyond the last date given by the HC!! The matter now stands in a surprising limbo where those who asked for an expedited hearing have themselves suddenly changed their minds and are trying to delay the final outcome. I will, of course keep the community posted on any new developments in these legal cases.

The community also needs to know that Munchi Cama, Viraf Mehta and Armaity Tirandaz, this time in a joint letter, not bothering to camouflage the collusion between them, have written yet again to the Registrar asking him to not register any Leave and License Agreements. The demand to stop registrations is not based on any law of the land and the Registrar is just being bulldozed into inaction based on misleading facts and convoluted legal arguments.


Why we were forced to terminate gardener Dara Elavia from Doongerwadi?

Recently, our CEO was forced to terminate the services of gardener Dara Elavia due to extremely unacceptable conduct. These are the facts –

Elavia, who retired in March 2016, was given a year’s extension by the BPP. He had been using a couple of contract gardeners/maalis to run a private nursery on the Doongerwadi premises. The contract maalis’ period of employment came to an end last year after which the Trust decided not to continue their contract as the BPP itself employs nothing less than 18 gardeners at the Doongerwadi.

However, Elavia’s private business must have been so lucrative, that he surreptitiously continued to exploit the contract maalis, paying their monthly remuneration from his own earnings. When the Trust became aware of this illegal employment on BPP Trust property (a very legal liability) they once again requested Elavia to ensure that the contract maali did not work on BPP property again. An enraged Dara Elavia attempted to retaliate by sending out extremely derogatory WhatsApp messages using the foulest possible language against the CEO and Chairman of the BPP.

Dara was called to the BPP Board meeting and at that time he showed no remorse nor apologized. He was warned against indulging in such conduct in the future and the Board allowed him to continue till the end of his term in March 2017.

In January 2017 despite various notices put up at the Doongerwadi declaring it to be a non-photography zone, Dara Elavia, with the help of a non-Parsi photographer took photos and filmed our sacred Doongerwadi and converted it into a 25 minute video, which has a running commentary given by Dara himself, where he has made unsubstantiated, derogatory and unacceptable allegations against the BPP Trustees! The video has been mischievously shot with incorrect depiction of the ground reality and distortion of facts, so as to incite and instigate the community against the Trustees. This serious act of insubordination, of him making a video of our holy Doongerwadi with the help of a non Parsi, splashing it on Facebook and thus hurting the religious sentiments of our community, resulted in the termination of his services.

Many years ago, a video was shot by unknown persons of the inside of the dakhma creating a huge public furore. Till date, one does not know who was behind this distasteful and shameful video, although by inference it would not be out of place to suspect Elavia and his supporter behind this despicable episode.

Elavia, a man whose inappropriate style of dress, foul language and appalling behavior towards one and all, has often been the center of various complaints in a place where the community comes to pay their respects to the bereaved and expects a minimum dress code and behavioral decency. Elavia, who has in the past, been known to closely work with Dinshaw Mehta was also responsible with Dinshaw Mehta in dumping 300 truck loads of soil and debris from a construction site in Doongerwadi in 2014 , which resulted in a terrible loss in terms of foliage.

It also may be pointed out that despite a scientific report commissioned by the BPP itself by the widely acclaimed environmentalist and botanist, Dr. C S Lattoo, suggesting not to spray any pesticide in the premise as it would affect the natural food chain that is required for a forest to be healthy, Dara, in cahoots with Dinshaw Mehta tried to use pesticide due to some misguided notion (caused by lack of knowledge) that it was advisable to do so.

BPP Accused Of dishousing Dara Elavia:

It would be foolish on the part of the BPP to allow someone who badmouths the Dokhmenishini system and the management and BPP Trustees to stay in the Doongerwadi complex and give him an opportunity to continue with his brazen, disgusting behaviour. Here are some facts. Dara Elavia was married twice. He was initially married to a non Parsi lady who he divorced and then married a Parsi lady who’s currently a BPP staff. They were allotted a free flat in Godrej Baug. However, Dara soon divorced his second wife who continues to stay in Godrej Baug and instead of moving in with his old mother, he requested the BPP to give him some accommodation, close to the Doongerwadi where he was working, which was granted by the BPP on L&L in 2005, which has not been renewed since then. This was done by the Trust in the interest of Doongerwadi. However, now that he no longer works at Doongerwadi, and even more importantly, has hurt the religious sentiments of the entire community, we have asked him to vacate his house.

Even as you read this, Elavia has sent a legal notice to the Trust where he has lamented about the promotion of a non Parsi at Doongerwadi. I must say this with the highest regard that this non Parsi gentleman, Dinesh Jathar, is a hard-working, honest and dedicated member of our staff. His efforts at the Doongerwadi, right from administration work to gardening and maintenance, are known to all who are involved with the Doongerwadi. He is on call 24/7 and his promotion is based on his work and steadfast dedication alone.

I must state this for the record, that if Elavia has a problem, he should have approached his seniors/ superiors or even the Trustees to express his concern. We have overlooked many of the above transgressions and it is clear that Dara cares a damn about anything the management or the Trustees say or do. However, insubordination or hurting the religious sentiment of the community by uploading prohibited photos and videos of our holy Doongerwadi premises is simply unacceptable. And what is most upsetting to me is that Dara has been continuously discouraging people from bringing their loved ones who die to Doongerwadi and has been promoting cremation. This is totally unacceptable!

Rs. 20 Lakhs Found In Ex-CEO Mehli Colah’s Cupboard:

On 28th January 2017, the MRA Marg Police Station, under the supervision of Sr Inspector More, conducted a panchnama of the cash lying in late BPP CEO Mehli Colah’s cupboard in the BPP Office. This unaccounted cash was then taken into the custody of the Police. Further investigation will be conducted to find the source of the cash and how a Charitable Trust, which is barred from dealing in cash, had over Rs. 20 lakhs cash lying in its cupboard, unaccounted! Dinshaw Mehta, the prime accused in the Dady House Case has time and again written to the press for the cash to be used by the BPP – I suppose he wants to ensure that the incriminating evidence is wiped out. Though the BPP is presently going through a cash crunch and it would be the easiest thing to use this unaccounted money, we did not do so as it would be legally wrong and could lead to legal and criminal repercussions for the BPP in future.

Navsari Ownership Building Allotments:

At the Bamji Sanatorium property in Navsari, the BPP has constructed a third building which is now ready for allotment. This building looks refreshingly different from the earlier buildings, thanks to the stylish touches given by my buddy, former Trustee Jimmy Mistry. An advertisement inviting those who wished to purchase, on ownership, the flats, shops and offices in this 8-storey building was published in Jame Jamshed a year ago. Those who had responded were called to Sohrab Baug, Navsari on Sunday 15th January 2017 for finalizing the allotments. Along with two senior BPP executives, Mr. Todiwalla and Mr. Bharucha, I proceeded with the process of allotting the flats, shops and offices to the applicants.

Some of the applicants of the offices/shops (mostly from one Yazdi Kasad family) demanded a reduction in the price of the offices/shops due to demonetization and threatened to disrupt the process of allotment. We kept firm about the price not being changed and that since there was no cash component to this transaction, demonetization would not affect this purchase deal. In fact, in November 2015 my co-Trustees Kersi Randeria, Noshir Dadrawalla and Zarir Bhathena had visited Navsari and had taken into account the feedback of the applicants regarding the prices quoted for the flats, shops and offices, and after reviewing the market value of ownership buildings in Navsari, the BPP had reduced the price of the flats and increased the price for the commercial shops and offices. This reviewed pricing was mentioned in the advertisement, to which the applicants had responded. For the applicants to now demand a reduction in the pricing of the offices/shops is just not right.

All the requisite paperwork including obtaining permission from the Charity Commissioner, etc is being quickly processed and hopefully C Building, Bamji Sanatorium will be home to 24 Parsi families very soon.

The Chairman’s Award:

My enriching and successful corporate experience, spanning 30 years, has convinced me that productivity and performance increases manifold when employees are incentivized. To that objective, with the concurrence of my Co-Trustees, I intend to institute awards for various functions in the BPP. To set up a scientific, objective assessment system will take time, so the Chairman’s Award will come into effect from financial year 2017-18.

However, as a quick start and to reward merit instantaneously, I propose to donate Rs. 50,000/- for the first such Chairman’s Award. The function I have chosen is that of a ‘Custodian’ who is the ambassador of the BPP. Companies measure their success by their “eSAT” (i.e. Employee satisfaction) and “cSAT” (i.e. Customer satisfaction) scores. For a custodian the measure of his success is the cSAT score of the residents of the colony he manages – in this case amounting to the feedback of the residents of the colony he manages. One such custodian is Neville Malegamwalla whose work has been acclaimed in writing by the residents of Khan Estate in Mahim. In my opinion Neville has succeeded in his function and deserves to be the recipient of the Chairman’s Award of Rs. 50,000 for the Best Custodian. Many congratulations to Neville Malegamwalla!

Finally, I must place on record the outstanding contribution of my three Co-Trustees, who with true grit, honesty and untiring efforts, have overcome all the odds to help make the BPP a genuine oasis for the poor and needy… Kudos to:

Trustee Zarir Bhathena – inspite of his critical surgery, he has attended all meetings and actively participates in all decisions.

Trustee Noshir Dadrawalla – a true Charity expert, who has guided the Board through difficult legal tangles.

Trustee Kersi Randeria – my biggest support in empowering the BPP to take bold decisions necessary for the welfare of the community.

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