Framroz Darasha Engineer was all smiles at the two-bedroom flat in Pune’s Model colony when officials of the Income-Tax (I-T) Department came to greet him on his birthday.
Having undergone prostrate surgery, Engineer had been advised to take rest by doctors.
But he chatted chirpily about everything under the sun. When the subject turned to income tax, he just shrugged it off. “Oh, it’s just my duty,” he said.
Engineer, who turned 100 on Monday, is the oldest I-T assessee in the country, according to I-T office.
This year, too, he filed tax returns of Rs 7,500. A feat noted by no less than Finance Minister P.C. Chidambaram who sent him a congratulatory letter on November 3.
“I am happy to learn that Shri F. D. Engineer has filed his income tax return at the age of 100. I think this is a unique achievement, which deserves to be noted and congratulated. Please convey my good wishes to Shri F. D. Engineer,” the letter, sent through Pune’s I-T office, said.
Engineer, a former automobile engineer and a music lover, was given a bouquet by Chief I-T Commissioner M. Narasimhappa on Monday.
“We are thinking of using him as a brand ambassador to promote paying I-T since he has been filing returns regularly since 1949, which in itself is an exemplary feat and an inspiration for all citizens,” he said.
A teary-eyed Engineer thanked the commissioner. “I never expected this kind of appreciation from anybody.”
Born in a small town in Gujarat, Engineer shifted to Pune 20 years ago to stay with his daughter, Zurie Mody. And though he was far away from his work place, at Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh, he made sure he never missed filing his returns from there.
For the past few years, his friend Naozar Chenoy, an accountant in Secunderabad, has been helping him file the returns.
It was Chenoy who sent a letter to the finance minister, informing about his special client.
“My father never made us realise that he has been doing something great. He says he has been just doing his duty,” Mody said.
Her father's zest for life, which led him to write a book on philosophy and two booklets on spirituality, remains unabated.
“The last two months have been a little bad for him as his eyesight has deteriorated and he has suffered hearing loss,” Mody said. “But he never stops participating in any activity.”