Borhras and reform
Dawoodi Bohras - Borhras and reform

Sir Adamji Peerbhoy Sanatorium case

The Bohra clergy's animosity with Sir Adamji Peerbhoy is well known. But community will soon know the outcome of this animosity. The clergy has committed several crimes in order to wipe out Sir Adamji's name from his charity known as Sir Adamji Peerbhoy Sanatorium.

The unending animosity and insatiable greed to usurp the Sanatorium land of worth 100 crores have brought them to a stage of no return. The case is going on in the Supreme Court of India, being fought by advocate Abid Merchant, the great grand son of Sir Adamji. The story of Abid Merchant's single-handed, consistent fight for last 22 years against the multimillionaire Kothar is a great one. What we are giving here is the outcome of the efforts of the Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat, Bombay, in unearthing the various details of this case which are shocking.

The Jamaat obtained a certified copy of audited accounts of Sir Adamji Peerbhoy Sanatorium Trust (Sir APST) for the year 31st March, 1995-96-97 from the office of the Charity Commissioner, Bombay. On going through the audited accounts it was noted that movable assets of Sir APST were shown in the form of shares of M/s. Tata Power Co. Ltd. and M/s. ACC Ltd. These shares were worth more than Rs 30 lakhs as estimated by the Jamaat.

Pursuing this audited accounts it was seen that the shares were sold off in January 1995-96 and large amount so derived was lying as balance in the trust account with Hong-Kong Bank. In June1997 this huge amount was wiped out under headings which were not the objects of Sir APST as shown below:

Item Indian rupees
Religious 65,000
Secular Education 2,05,000
Medical Relief 5,08,000
Relief of poverty 72,000
Legal Fees 6,57,000
Ground Rent 1,00,748

Rs one lakh was shown as paid for ground rent to the Collector. This was shocking because the ground rent is only Rs. 247/- per annum. Besides, the legal fees paid were shown as nearly 7 lakhs. In short, most of the amount raised by selling off shares was shown to have been wiped out.

Equipped with the above information the Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat, Bombay, filed a complaint with the Hon. Add. Chief Magistrate, Mazgaon Court in January 1999 against the Trustees, Chartered Accountant and the Solicitors of the trust. The trustees of Sir APST are:

  1. Ali Asghar Kalimuddin ( the younger brother of Sayedna Burhanuddin Saheb)
  2. Qaid Johar Ezzuddin (the eldest son of Sayedna Burhanuddin Saheb)
  3. Mudreka Zakiuddin (another son of the Sayedna, who claims to be the Senior Council of Dawat)
  4. Ismail Mohammedali Kanga (also a solicitor but retired as trustee of Sir APST)
  5. Shaikh Ebrahim A.K. Faizullabhoy (who is a partner of Mulla & Mulla and Craig Blunt & Caeroe solicitors.)
  6. Mustafa Safiuddin (who is a partner in a firm M&M Legal Venture)
  7. Yusuf Chawala (against whom the Justice Varyava of Bombay High Court has directed the registrar to initiate Criminal Proceeding for fabrication of documents etc. The case no. being S-100 of 1995 being heard at Esplanade Court.)
  8. Yusuf Kasamji

The Court directed the Economic Offenses Wing of the General Branch, C.I.D., Bombay Police, to investigate and report u/s 156(3) I.P.C. The Bombay Police has investigated and the matter is now before the Hon. Add. Chief Magistrate, Mazgaon Court.

Now the interesting part of the investigation. In the course of investigation the police approached the Hong Kong Bank to verify the balance sheet, as shown in the audited accounts of Sir APST. To every one's surprise the Hong Kong Bank informed that they do not have any account in the name of Sir APST. The Bank issued a letter dated 16-2-1999 accordingly. The police then approached the Tata Shares Registry to ascertain the shares shown as held by them on the behalf of the Sir APST by Hong Kong Bank.

Before we proceed further a brief insight in to the shares:
  1. The shares were bought in 1962.
  2. The shares were lodged with Mercantile Bank Agencies Pvt. Ltd., now known as Hong Kong Bank.
  3. The shares were produced in the court by the Bank as summoned in the Charity Application of 18 of 1986, being heard by the Bombay City Civil Court. The shares were lost/misplaced by the court. Surprisingly neither Trustees nor the Bank applied for the duplicate shares until 1996/97.

The Tata Shares Registry by their letter dated 5-3-1999 confirmed the holding of 3960 shares of face value of Rs. 10 each. The Bank has also confirmed by their letter dated 27-2-1999 of transferring these shares in the personal names of two trustees, Mudreka Zakiuddin and Ali Asghar Kalimuddin.

Likewise M/s ACC Ltd. have by their letter dated 16-3-1999 confirmed holding 187 shares which also have been transferred in the personal names of Ali Asghar Kalimuddin and Mudreka Zakiuddin.

The interesting feature of the above is that contrary to the sale of shares shown in the year 1995/96 the duplicates of Tata shares were issued in 1997 and duplicates of ACC shares were issued as late as 1998. Hence there was no scope to sell these shares in 1995/96 as shown in the audited accounts.

The question now arises is: when the shares were not available for sale - and the amounts could not be raised - why at all the bogus sale of share was shown?- and then deposited into the personal accounts of two trustees. The scheme, the modus operandi, the criminal thought and planning by the trustees is not far to seek in hindsight.

The trustees had not filed the audited accounts for the year 95/96 and 97 during the statuary period of closing the yearly accounts. Hence three years of accounts were open and more than Rs. 30 lakhs were available to be swallowed if correctly planned. Hence what was required was to show fake and bogus entries of sales of shares, amount thus raised and distributed. This will ensure that the available shares would go out of the books of Sir APST as having been sold. Once this is done then take the shares in the personal names of trustees and share the booty among the trustees.

They had not expected that the progressive Jamaat in Bombay will one day file a case and unearth the facts with the help of the police. They had not expected that for having committed breach of trust, criminal misappropriation, forgery and misfeasance and malfeasance they would land in a position of being the guests of the government. There is no escape now. This is not a civil matter that it can have room for discretion. It is a criminal, open and shut case.