Nearly two months after Nikhil Jhaveri, 49, went missing from outside his sister’s residence in Kandivli, he was found in a home for destitutes in Malwani on Saturday. The case exposes the lack of coordination between police stations and departments because Jhaveri’s family filed a complaint with the Samta Nagar police station on December 7, 2013, while Jhaveri was sent by the Borivli police to the home for destitutes on December 3, the very day he went missing.
The family is disappointed with the police investigation. “The Samta Nagar police assured us that his details had been sent to all police stations in the state. However, despite the Borivli police registering the incident and handing him over to the NGO, there was no communication between the two police stations. The police were clueless for two months,” said Tejas Mehta, Jhaveri’s nephew.
Jhaveri, a two-time divorcee, who owned and ran the prestigious Palm Beach School on Napean Sea Road before it shut down in 2009, suffers from Huntington’s disease — a genetic disorder which affects motor functions.
On December 3, he stepped out of his sister’s Kandivli residence for a smoke and tea, but went to the Borivli police station, saying he had nobody to turn to. The police handed him over to Swagat Ashram, a home for destitutes and an NGO, in Palghar. He was brought to Malwani after his health deteriorated. On Saturday, Jhaveri’s relatives living in South Mumbai received a call from the NGO. His sister was then duly informed after which Jhaveri was brought home.
The family is happy to have him back because they feared he was kidnapped by land sharks who eyed his property. Jhaveri’s dream was to convert his Rs1,000 crore-worth defunct property into an international school.
“My uncle did not carry a mobile or a wallet. He had walking and sleeping problems. He was under tremendous stress for two months. Had the NGO not contacted us, we would have remained in the dark. This is sheer police negligence,” Tejas told dna.
The police, however, refuse to accept blame. Last week, officers at Samta Nagar police station told dna that all police stations and hospitals had been informed about Jhaveri’s case. The Borivli police feigned ignorance. “Jhaveri came to the police station voluntarily, saying he did not have a home. We did not consider him a ‘missing person’ and sent him to Swagat Ashram. We were not aware that a missing person’s case was registered with another police station,” said Narayan Khaire, senior PI, Borivli police. The crime branch too was involved in the probe and there was lack of coordination among its officers.
A spokesperson of the Swagat Ashram admitted that Jhaveri was under stress and had health issues. “He had a bunch of Xerox copies pertaining to his property which we noticed recently. We saw some contact details on them and informed his family,” the spokesperson said. Jhaveri told his family on his return that he was keen on completing his dream project.