‘Trusteeship ended with Rabbi’
By Ashutosh Shukla • DNA Agency
Mumbai – The charity commissioner on Friday allowed Holtzberg lawyer Manoj Jaiswal to inspect the Chabad House’s original documents before he files a rejoinder.
The commissioner granted the permission after Chabad Movement’s lawyer P Rustomkhan filed a reply to the objections raised for change of trustees. Responding to the objections, Rustomkhan submitted around 28 documents.
The case started in 2009 when Shailesh Dalvi, a lawyer and former trustee of the Chabad of India Trust, filed a change report seeking to make Rabbi Joseph Kantor, Moshe Dov Gansborg, and Joel Kurulkar trustees. The constituted authority of grandparents of Moshe Holtzberg — Eliran Russo — challenged the same stating that a non-Jew cannot make the trustees’ appointments.
Moshe’s parents Rabbi Gavriel and Rivki, who died in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had registered the Chabad of India Trust in October 2005. At that time they were the trustees and later in 2006, they resigned to allow others to become trustees. But soon later, they rejoined the trust. In 2007, when Holtzberg bought the Colaba property called Nariman House, as per the affidavit, he was the lifetime trustee, with powers to appoint and remove trustees.
Russo had also contended that since Moshe was the legal heir of the property, but only three-year-old, his grandparents who are his custodian should be the legal heirs.
However, this was challenged by Dalvi’s lawyer. He stated that the permanent trusteeship and the life-long powers of Rabbi Gavriel and his wife of appointing and dismissing trustees ended with their lives.
He further said that the Holtzberg’s parents had no right in the trust and questioned the basis of them being appointed as trustees. The lawyer also cited a Family Matters Court, Nazareth’s order of March 2009 that maternal parents are the custodian of Moshe and not the paternal grandparents, so they cannot claim the right as a guardian or heir of their deceased son.
Meanwhile, talking to DNA, Jaiswal said, “We can respond only after looking at the originals. We will have to study their reply in detail and go through the originals.”