The Bombay high court held a 78-year-old woman guilty of criminal contempt on Friday after it noticed that she filed a petition impersonating the mother of a senior advocate, as part of a purported conspiracy to grab 109 acres of land along Ghodbundar Road in Thane.
The accused has been identified as Piloo Pervez Mehta.
The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed observed that it had no option but to hold her guilty for impersonating 90-year-old Siloo Mistry, the mother of senior advocate Jahangir Mistry. The judges noted that she had produced forged documents in order to file the petition.
It directed the superintendent of Thane Central Prison — where Mehta is currently lodged — to produce her before the court on August 23, when it will pronounce the quantum of sentence to be handed down to her.
Mehta’s petition sought the registration of an FIR. She complained that though she had lodged a written complaint with the Kasarvadavali police station at Thane in December 2015, the police did not act on it.
Mehta alleged that she was the owner of 109 acres of land at Borivade village. She said that though she sold the land to Gilbert Mendonca in 1981, the Swami Samarth Co-operative Society entered itself into the revenue record as owners of the property on the basis of a forged sale deed.
The scam was unearthed when the petition came up for hearing and Jahangir Mistry pointed out that the petition had been filed in his mother’s name, when in fact, his mother had done no such thing. The court summoned Mehta and her brother, Kersi Guard, and recorded their statements.Mehta admitted to impersonating Siloo Mistry, the real owner of the property.
The Kasarvadavali police station registered an offence against Mehta, Guard, Gilbert Mendonca — at whose behest they allegedly committed the impersonation — and Ashok Hire — Mendonca’s accomplice. An offence was also registered against advocate GB Lal, who represented Mehta in the petition.
Observing that the statements of Mehta and Guard disclosed interference in administration of justice, another bench of the high court had on March 3, issued contempt notices to all the five accused persons. The contempt proceedings against the others are yet to be concluded.
A preliminary investigation by the Kasarvadavali police revealed that Mehta did not only impersonate Mistry in the high court, but also while lodging the police complaint, before a civil court in Thane and also before revenue authorities.
The remand application filed by the police seeking custody of Guard, revealed the Mendonca had filed a suit naming Siloo Mistry as a defendant, and Mehta had appeared before the civil court impersonating the Mistry to file consent terms. On the strength of this, Mendonca obtained a consent decree and staked a claim to the land.