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Cancer-struck senior citizen swindled of ₹10cr by daughters

March 24, 2019 07:11 AM

COURTESY  MIRROR MARCH 24

Cancer-struck senior citizen swindled of ₹10cr by daughters
A Cantonment Court has directed the Lashkar police station to register a case against six other people as well for allegedly swindling money from the 85-year-old
| Rakesh.Nair1@timesgroup.com TWEET @rakeshmirror

An octogenarian cancer patient had to seek a court’s intervention to get the police to register her complaint against her two daughters, their accomplices, including bank officials, for swindling her of approximately over Rs 10 crore. The Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) of Pune Cantonment Court last week directed the Lashkar police station to register a case against eight people in the crime.

The complainant — 85-year-old Zenobia Russi Patel — a resident of Camp, has also accused the officials of Bank of India and Cosmos Bank of colluding with her daughter in the act. The old lady used to run a poultry farm at Hadapsar since the ’70s. Her son, Cyrus Patel, joined her later to establish the brand name — Sunnydale Farm Products. The lady’s husband Russi Patel, was former director of Philips India.


In the mid-’90s, as Zenobia was down with a back problem and other health issues, the couple sold several properties, including the farm at Hadapsar. They started joint accounts and invested the money in shares, mutual funds, fixed depostis and other such financial instruments to secure their future.

However, according to the complaint filed in court, one of their daughters — Zubin Patel — colluded with the bank officials, maliciously forging the elderly couple’s signatures. She removed her mother’s name from one joint account and added herself as a co-owner with Russi in a locker, with the Bank of India branch on East Street. “Both my sister and mother went by the name ZR Patel. She used to forge our mother’s signature. She gradually started removing several precious articles and documents kept in the locker,” Cyrus told Mirror.

Interestingly, Russi, who passed away in September 2016, had detected the daughter’s nefarious act, long ago and had, apparently, alerted the bank officials 19 years ago. “Despite instructions given to them by my father, the bank officials allowed the operation of the locker without confiscating the key from her,” Cyrus alleged. He claimed to possess documents evidencing the money transfers Zubin made to one of her aides.

After her husband’s demise, Zenobia who was already battling breast cancer moved into a rented accommodation. “The medical costs were difficult on our pockets but I have not let that affect her treatment,” Cyrus said. The mother and son approached the cops in 2017. However, no case was registered, forcing them to take the legal route.

In her complaint, Zenobia has also accused her second daughter Romina Khambatta, her husband and son of being party to the fraud. Apart from them, Zubin’s other accomplices named is a financial manager — Christopher Louzade and two more — Jasjeet Singh Nijjar and Satish Sabnis.

“JMFC came to the conclusion that the case, prima facie, discloses the commission of cognisable offence and requires detailed investigation. An order was passed on March 13, directing the police authorities concerned to probe into the alleged crime which is serious in nature,” said advocate Aashutosh Srivastava, who represented Zenobia.

However, the daughter, who now goes with her marital name, Zubin Vivian D’Souza, brushed aside the allegations. “I am aware of the court ruling. These are baseless allegations and the case was cooked up by my brother. I have not taken money from my mother and she never had that kind of money to be swindled. The bank statements will prove the truth. Justice will prevail,” she declared.

“The case is a very old one and technical in nature. We are aware of the court order and will soon start a serious probe into the matter,” said assistant police inspector (Lashkar) Santosh Kate

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