According to Khuzaima Qutbuddin, who is the challenger to the title of the spiritual head of the million-strong Dawoodi Bohra community, the 52nd Syedna (spiritual head of the community) had said that he (Qutbuddin) was the “beloved son”.
“This carried the meaning that I was his successor,” he claimed, while appearing in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.
Qutbuddin, half-brother of the late 52nd Syedna, Mohammad Burhanuddin, has challenged the succession of the latter’s son Mufaddal Saifuddin as the next Syedna.
“The Syedna appointed me as Mazoon (the second-in-command). He said I was a beloved son. This carried the meaning that I was his successor,” he said, while being cross-examined by Saifuddin’s lawyer Iqbal Chagla.
When questioned on the Nass (nomination), and if he could explain why according to him this alleged Nass took place secretly and without a witness, Qutbuddin said, “To keep it a secret was Syedna’s decision and not mine. I am the witness.”
The challenger was also asked if it was his belief that even Saifuddin knew that he was the successor of the 52nd Dai. Qutbuddin, while responding, said, “I think so.”
Qutbuddin also said that when the late Syedna was asked by his uncle why the Nass has not been made public, he was told by the late spiritual head that, “Talwarein chal jatin” (swords would have been drawn).
Chagla further questioned whether his uncle knew of the Nass allegedly conferred on him, he said. “I believe my uncle knew but I cannot say for certain. The Syedna told me not to tell anyone and I obeyed him. Given the way my uncle respected me, I believed he must have known,” he said. He also added that he was confident that other people mentioned by him in his affidavits also knew.
When Chagla asked why the conferring of the Nass was not a secret, according to Qutbuddin, he said, “That is possible because of the favours that the Syedna showered on me.”
Qutbuddin also said that the defendant (Saifuddin), his father-in-law and his brothers started to scheme against him and malign him as he had attained a high position. He further alleged that his popularity made others jealous.When asked if they succeeded in maligning him, he answered, “To an extent in the eye of some people in the community.”
He also claimed that there were two assassination attempts on him at Yemen and Indore. He, however, said that he did not know if the defendant and his brothers were not involved in the attempt in Yemen while he denied their involvement in the case of the attack in Indore.