Mumbai: Businessman Ajay Mafatlal, who was Aparna till a sex change operation, of the Yogindra Mafatlal Group, passed away after a month-long illness at a hospital in Mumbai. He was 60. Ajay died at the Breach Candy Hospital on Saturday afternoon due to cardio-respiratory failure, according to the hospital and family sources.
He was first admitted to the Cumballa Hill Hospital on July 30 with urinary tract and lung infections, but soon he developed sepsis, following which he was shifted to the Breach Candy hospital. He was one of the most famous and earliest sex change cases in the country. In November 2003, he underwent a surgery at the age of 46.
Aparna was in November 1979 married to family friend Sudeep Parikh who was into the business of producing yarns. After living together for one-and-half years, they mutually agreed to get separated, and in 1984, got formally divorced.
Ajay’s funeral was held at the Banganga cremation grounds on Saturday evening in the presence of family members and close friends. His mother Madhuri Mafatlal, whom he was very close to, was cremated at the same place two years back.
Ajay always maintained that he wanted to live like man as he never felt like a woman. He and his mother Madhuri were embroiled in a bitter property battle with his younger brother Atulya and the latter’s estranged wife Sheetal.
Though Ajay had denied that property dispute with Atulya had anything to with his sex change, rumour mills never died. Before Aparna became Ajay, Atulya was the only son to have a claim on the late Yogindra Mafatlal’s trust, as all the four sisters, including Aparna, had been married off.
After the death of the patriarch Yogindra Mafatlal over a decade ago, an intense family feud started between Ajay and Atulya over the 10,000-sqft family mansion on Altamount Road in Mumbai, with Atulya and Sheetal on one side and Madhuri and Ajay on the other side. To put an end to the dispute, their mother allowed partition of the Altamount Road mansion.
However, the feud between Ajay and Atulya intensified after Madhuri, a few months before her death in July 2013, declared Ajay as her only son. Following this, Ajay too disowned Atulya as his brother.
Despite being very close to each other and Ajay supporting her marriage to her brother, Sheetal had filed a harassment case against Ajay and her mother-in-law Madhuri, from which they both came out clean.
After the sex change, Ajay became the eldest of the five children of Yogindra. Apart from brother Atulya, he has three sisters–Kunti Shah, Gayatri Jhaveri and Malvika Taktawala. Ajay was not involved in the operations of the Yogindra Mafatlal Group, which is into marketing and distribution of dyestuffs and intermediates, textiles and non-textile auxiliaries. He set up a computer consultancy firm Megabyte along with his partner and theatre personality Jai Kunder in the late 1990s.
Following the divorce, Ajay began to live with Jai. However, within a few years the business collapsed and so the relationship.