MUMBAI: Nikhil Jhaveri, the owner of the defunct Palm Beach School, Nepean Sea Road, who was missing for more than a month, was traced to a shelter for destitute people in Malad on Sunday. Ironically, the Borivli police enrolled him, but did not communicate the information to the Samta Nagar police, who were looking for him.
The twice-divorced Jhaveri (48) suffers from Huntington's disease and lives with his sister and brother-in-law in Kandivli (East). This was the third time he went missing. The 3,000-sq m sea-facing Nepean Sea Road property he owns is nominally worth around Rs 200 crore, said a developer. "Half the plot is reserved for a school while the other portion falls in a no-development zone. Hence, it has little commercial value," he told TOI. Jhaveri's stepmother recently filed a petition in the Bombay high court, contesting his claim of ownership.
Contesting the police's claims of tracing Jhaveri, his relatives said the management of the shelter, Swagat Ashram, took efforts to reunite him with them. On December 3, 2013, Jhaveri left his sister's apartment in the morning. On December 7, his brother-in-law, Murlidhar Mehta, registered a missing complaint with the Samta Nagar police. "On December 3, a cop found him near Borivli station. His speech was incoherent and he couldn't stand without support. The cop took him to Borivli police station. After his description was recorded, he was enrolled at Swagat Ashram," said a relative.
Jhaveri was lodged at the Virar wing and then the Malad wing of the shelter. "We used to talk to him a lot. While he never spoke of his relatives, he would sometimes mumble about his Nepean Sea Road property. When we examined some papers he had on him, his conversation started to make sense," said Stanley Serrao, who runs the shelter.
"It's appalling how the police did not co-ordinate among themselves. We had to personally ask housing societies and shops in our neighbourhood to release CCTV footage in order to check if Jhaveri could be spotted. We also went to the railway police to check photographs of train accident victims. It seems the police have no procedure to look for missing persons," said a close relative of Jhaveri.