Hansa & Ajay Mehtani were introduced to a New York couple Jugal & Rekha Lakhwani and their son Aman by their New Jersey based relatives in Mumbai. Mrs. & Mr. Lakhwani spoke very highly of their son Aman that he is a college graduate, very intelligent, well cultured with no bad habits and no girlfriends. He wants his would be wife to be well educated, cultured and homely and looking for no dowry. They claimed that Aman makes $100,000.00/year from 3 Dunkin Donuts Stores in New York and share in the family business of Auto Repair in New York. They own a big luxury House in Long Island and have multiple luxury cars.
They have properties in Mumbai also. They are living in USA for the last 28 years and they are very well settled in the business. Rekha is a house wife and Jugal Lakhwani is Trustee of a Hindu Temple of New York. Both are very actively involved in social services to the community and in the Temple. They also added that they have a daughter Amita who is a Physician Assistant and works for a hospital in Bronx. At present Amita is living with them. She would get married eventually and whatever they have; Cash in banks, Jewelry, House & Business in NY, and Properties & income in Mumbai, it all belongs to their son Aman.
Mehtanis agreed to marry their daughter Neha with Lakhwani’s son Aman with a formal engagement party in Mumbai. After few days Aman with his family and friends came to Mumbai again for the Hindu Religious Ceremonies. Aman’s parent Rekha & Jugal Lakhwani few days before the ceremonies started demanding dowry/gifts for themselves & their relatives. After the dowry/gifts demands by the Lakhwani family were fulfilled, the ceremonies took place in Mumbai. After that Aman & Neha got married at a New York Court followed by a Reception by Rekha & Jugal Lakhwani in New York. Neha became the victim of domestic violence, matrimonial frauds, lies and deceit from day one.
She came to know Aman is not medically fit as husband besides having other pre existing medical conditions. What business he owns and his earnings was also a big mystery. He submitted 2 earning statements while sponsoring Neha for her Green Card; one with employment since 2005 with a salary of $60,00.00 per annum as District Manager & other since 2006 with a salary of $1,000.00 per week as Manager both from the same Donuts & Ice Cream Store in NY. Moreover, Aman’s parent were not treating her well and the house where everyone is living actually belonged to her sister in-law Amita Lakhwani.
Since the Divorce in Hindu culture is a stigma and looking at the old age of her parent; Neha tried her level best to save her marriage. Even after learning the truth her parent advised her to work on her marriage to respect the Hindu culture. When Neha could not tolerate her physical beating any more, she called the police on Aman in June 2012. Rather than protecting Neha, Lakhwani’s started harassing her to go back to India and forced her to sign a No Contest Divorce with no financial compensation or reimbursement for various Hindu wedding ceremonies and expensive diamond/gold gifts to entire Lakhwani family and cash/sweets to their relatives.
After taking Neha’s signature entire Lakhwani family filed 8 Complaints against her in Family Court as well as eviction Notice by her sister in-law Amita claiming $4,000.00 as rent arrears. Lakhwani’s took Restraining orders against Neha so that she could not talk to the Media about Aman’s medical, earnings, qualification and assets. Rekha and Jugal Lakhwani are misusing Temple funds and resources. The house Lakhwani’s are living belongs to her sister in-law Amita. This is the same house Rekha Lakhwani sold to their daughter during the peak in Dec. 2006 for $10.00 when the market value was close to a million dollar.
Even today this property is worth over $700,000.00. Rekha Lakhwani has purchased this property for $430,000.00 in 2003. It raises questions why the property was not sold to their son Aman? May be Rekha, Jugal & Aman are running from their debtors! All 3 are claiming Tax Payer funded Free Medical Services by claiming to be poor when they have cash income from their Auto Repair business, a Trust in the name of Rekha Lakhwani, cash stashed in daughter’s name and properties and income in Mumbai (India).
Jugal and Rekha Lakhwani unsuccessfully tried to violate Neha’s Religious Rights also by writing to the Court that she should not be allowed to enter the Hindu Temple where Jugal is the Trustee. When it failed Jugal filed for violation against her for attending Satsang/Prayer in a private home by claiming that the owner of the house is their family friend. Frustrated and distraught by the emotionally, physically, mentally and financially harassing behavior of entire Lakhwani family; Nisha filed a motion in Nov. 2012 to contest the divorce. As per court filing Aman is High School only and not College Graduate as claimed by Lakhwani’s.
At present earning $ 1,000/month from a temporary job; exposing the lies of Lakhwani’s that he makes $100,000.00/annum. In the name of assets; he has a 13yrs old car may be worth $150.00 and no bank balance. On top of that he has a liability of $35,000.00 payable to his father & sister’s corporation. He admitted in the Court he lives with his sister; drives her car, she pays for gas, food and gives him an allowance also. Still Aman has the insanity to register himself in Shaadi.com when he is not even legally divorced; trying to trap another innocent girl by claiming to be a Divorcee, Graduate and business owner making $25,000.00 to $40,000.00.
Even Jugal & Rekha Lakhwani has practically no assets and no income according to Court records on their application for Free Attorney. They have failed to disclose about their cash income from Auto Repair business, jointly owned Corporation with daughter Amita, a Trust in the name of Rekha Lakhwani, cash stashed away in daughter’s name and properties they owned in Mumbai. Jugal, Rekha & Aman; all three are living with their daughter/sister Amita Lakhwani and using tax payer funded Free Healthcare meant for poor people.
Family court Judge made an observation that it is hard to believe for the Court; how young Amita alone is paying for mortgage, a Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Infinity, gas for all vehicles, food, groceries, utilities and paying allowances for all 3? The Court does not appreciate being played the fool. The Court is not a fool. The most unfortunate part is other 13 Trustees of the Temple were approached by Neha initially for help and they refused to help her. Then her parent also approached them, other Hindu Leaders, cultural and trade organizations, Indian Consulate, Embassy and women organizations.
None of them have helped Neha and the biggest disgrace are the women organizations Manavi & Sakhi who are telling Neha to move to a shelter; we can give you attorney referrals only but can not represent you in the Court. They know it too well she cannot afford an attorney. Top on the Shame on You List are the Temple Trustees and Hindu organizations and its Leaders for not treating this problem as Social Issue. Rather than removing Jugal Lakhwani as Trustee of the Temple and giving justice to the victim Neha; they are showing solidarity with him.
They could have taken a step forward to outcast the Lakhwanis and advised the Hindu community especially the Sindhi community to break all communications with them and let them know that what they have done is unacceptable. If we do not invest in strengthening the moral and ethical core of the Hindu community whose fabric is being eaten up by the butchers of Hinduism like Lakhwanis, Hindus will disintegrate. Hinduism will become a violent religion with no regard to morality, ethics, honesty and basic human rights especially for women.
In Indian Court system the entire Lakhwani family can be punished for matrimony frauds and the parent can be held liable for compensation and maintenance to the victim if their son cannot pay. But in US Courts this is not applicable because Court considers marriage between 2 adults only and looking at the barely educated Aman Lakhwani dependent on his sister Amita for his daily needs, Neha is not entitled to any compensation. Neha’s story indicates a reasonably well educated and intelligent girl working for ABN Amro Bank as CSM in Dubai with a potential to make $35-40,000/yr in USA has been trapped into marrying a medically, educationally, professionally and financially derailed Aman by Lakhwani family.
To prove misrepresentation for medical, educational/professional, earnings and assets by Aman and his family; it is very expensive and prolonged legal battle that Nisha and her helpless parents sitting in Mumbai can hardly afford. Lesson For Every Parent in India : after reading about Neha’s emotional, physical, mental and financial torture; no parent in India should accept the verbal declarations from a prospective bridegroom and his parent. As no Hindu Community Leader, organization, Indian Consulate or their own relative will help their daughter in America if she becomes the victim of domestic violence, matrimonial frauds, lies and deceit.
They must understand there is no US laws under which bridegroom and his parent can be prosecuted for misrepresentation. They must insist on documentary proof for the status of the bridegroom. Girl’s Parent must demand College/Professional Degree Certificates, last 3 months Pay stubs, 2 years Tax Returns & W-2, proof of ownership of property & vehicles as well as Mortgage Statement and Car Loan statement from a prospective Bridegroom before they agree to marry their daughter.
This financial information can be helpful to know, can the prospective bridegroom will give a decent life to their daughter or he is looking for a Bride who is going to take care of his basic needs. May be the bridegroom and his family are looking for an unpaid live in maid with glorified title of wife/daughter in-law to be presented as a showpiece in their insensitive social circle.
(Compiled by Dave Makkar from the Appeal For Justice by Neha’s Parents made under oath in Mumbai and sent to New York courts. The real names of both parties have been with held on the request of Mehtanis.) The story has been published in public interest.–EDITOR