MUMBAI: A festering family dispute among the eight partners of Parsi Dairy Farm has finally been resolved with one of the partners, Urvaksh Naval Hoyvoy, who was jailed last month, retiring. Hoyvoy, who was held for fraud and fabricating a power of attorney, will walk away with Rs14 crore as his share as part of the agreement. The amount will be paid to him over the next one year.
Seven women of the family, in the age-group of 53 to 85 years, had dragged their cousin and nephew Hoyvoy to court. They also filed a police complaint against him for cheating, forgery, breach of trust, criminal intimidation and conspiracy.
Based on the FIR filed at Azad Maidan police station, Hoyvoy, 55, was arrested and sent to police custody on April 19. But the women decided not to oppose Hoyvoy’s bail application after he agreed to step down as partner, take his share and cut all links with the firm. The firm has its landmark mithai and milk products shop at Princess Street and a 300-acre property in Talasari on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border.
On April 30, the partners filed consent terms in the chamber of Justice SJ Kathawalla of Bombay high court to resolve the dispute. Besides Parsi Dairy Farm, the family runs a vegetarian restaurant called Dairyland on its Talasari property. Hoyvoy, who used to run another restaurant, Parsi Da Dhaba, on the same property, has shut it following the settlement.
According to the consent terms, Urvaksh has “forthwith” retired from the firm with full and final payment to him towards his share (lump sum Rs14 crore). The main petitioner, Meher Patel, who filed the arbitration plea in HC along with other partners, then agreed to give her “unconditional no-objection to grant of bail” to Hoyvoy. She also agreed to withdraw the police complaint against Hoyvoy and his wife Amy.
“Urvaksh Hoyvoy shall have no right, title or interest in any asset or business of the firm or any other claim against the continuing partners,” the terms of the agreement said. He will also transfer any intellectual property rights subsisting with him in relation to the trademark/brand name including Dairyland, Dairyland Products and Parsi Dairy Farm. His name would be removed from land records of the Talasari plot.
The dispute mainly revolved around the 300-acre land, which the family has been trying to dispose of for some years and divide the money equally among partners. The family accused Hoyvoy of “fraud” by creating a fabricated power of attorney in his name to control the property. Meher Patel, with other partners, said early this year, a person called Hemandra Gandhi had informed them he had purchased two plots from Hoyvoy. It was found the Hoyvoys and one Jeevan Barvadia had formed a company, Dairy Land Farm House Pvt Ltd, to sell portions of the plot.
The company collected Rs1.5 crore from investors as booking amount. Patel said this was a conspiracy. The partners found out agriculture land was converted into non-agriculture land. They also said Hoyvoy was collecting money and “wrongfully” creating encumbrances and liabilities on the land. He had “falsely and fraudulently” represented the firm’s land as the land of Dairy Land Farm House and “collected advances from numerous people towards proposed allotment upon development of the project,” they added.
In his affidavit, Hoyvoy said in 2005-06, his lawyer Shaukat Merchant introduced him to Najmuddin Meghani, a lawyer from Surat. Meghani would help him identify people in a position to raise money to develop the land. Hoyvoy said in 2006, Meghani introduced him to one Jivanbhai Barvadia of Surat, who was capable of developing the land. “Around that point of time, under advice of my lawyer Shaukat Merchant, I signed unregistered agreements and documents,” said the affidavit.