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In-house trailblazer, giant, ex-Amarchand senior SH Bhojani passes away post-Covid complications

Bhojani was one of the first lawyers to make it to top corporate management in India, paving the way for the others who followed

Gone where few lawyers had gone before: S H Bhojani, RIP
Gone where few lawyers had gone before: S H Bhojani, RIP

SH Bhojani, a trailblazing lawyer in the Indian business and law firm landscape, has passed away.

We understand that he had been hospitalised for pneumonia and was later diagnosed with Covid-19. While he appeared to have recovered and had returned home, he became ill again and was re-admitted to hospital before passing away at 4am this morning.

He had been at ICICI for nearly 30 years until he retired in 2001 in top management as executive director. He had been spearheading and encouraging the growth of ICICI’s legal function from infancy to the in-house force to be reckoned that it is now.

He then joined what-was-then Amarchand Mangaldas Mumbai (and later Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas) as a senior partner and one of its few non-family equity partners, where he was part of the firm’s management and a trusted voice. He retired from the firm around four years ago.

“He was an inspiration to a whole lot of us,” said one lawyer who used to work with Bhojani but now runs their own law firm.

“Truly passing of a giant and an era,” ICICI group general counsel Pramod Rao said.

“We are in grief,” said Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas managing partner Cyril Shroff, who had known him for 45 years. “He was loved and respected by everyone in the firm. He will be missed dearly and most of all by me and my family. Our prayers are with his family in this moment of sorrow.”

“Mr Bhojani will be remembered for his knowledge, pragmatism and commitment. We at CAM will miss him dearly,” he added.

Rao had also written a eulogy for Bhojani on Linked-in earlier today:

Earlier today, the news of Mr Bhojani’s passing reached and for so many of us who knew him or worked with him, are considerably saddened and anguished.

For me, it is a loss of a mentor and a trailblazer in every sense of the word. He joined the erstwhile Industrial Credit & Investment Corporation of India Ltd (ICICI and always “the Corporation” to Mr B) in 1973 having worked in 4 other companies previously, joined the Board of Directors of ICICI in 1996, and retired in 2001 as an Executive Director.

He along with Ms Kalpana Morparia shaped the legal department of ICICI and ICICI Bank (and which many of us hope is their enduring legacy!), nurtured and mentored many a talent - many of whom are now partners at leading law firms or in senior leadership at various banks, financial institutions and companies.

As a person he connected with everyone and touched so many lives; in being kind, courteous, and genuinely interested in well being of a person or their family.

Apart from shaping the legal department of ICICI (and handling several other functions), Mr B was passionately involved in law reform for advancing the banking & finance system and resolution of NPAs - whether it be repeal of SICA, establishment of DRTs or the passage into law of SARFAESI - Mr Bhojani was among those involved from industry in marshalling the case and the blueprint for these critical law reforms.

After retiring from ICICI, Mr B went on to join Amarchand Mangaldas, where he served as a senior partner, and retired a couple of years ago. He served on several Boards as an independent director.

I felt his kindness and warmth when he called after my own health scare: after asking about the state of my vitals, he mentioned how his own first heart attack was at 47 (and how I have beaten his record), and that the best way of getting well, is focusing the mind on all that is yet to be accomplished. From the time it was given, this advise remains foremost in my mind.

You will be deeply missed and fondly remembered for both being a great human being and a business lawyer par excellence.

Condolences to his family, friends and those who knew him, and may his soul Rest In Peace.

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