Protect Startups from Abuse of Law & Order | Grant Justice for Yogendra of Stayzilla
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Dear People of India,
I come from a middle-class family, born in the small town of Jabalpur. I started my entrepreneurship journey during college, where I looked up to a lot of people who inspired me. People who themselves came from a middle-class background like me and worked passionately to make a difference. But today, I am worried, scared and afraid. I wanted to be an entrepreneur to make a difference to the world, solve problems, and make our lives better, like many others. But today someone who inspired me to start my journey has been falsely accused of fraud and today I ask for your help.
20 days ago, Yogendra Vasupal was arrested on charges of fraud, defaulting payment to a vendor for services provided. He has been in prison awaiting bail and justice since then. Two attempts of getting bail in the sessions court have been rejected even though there is no reason to do so.
I am not going to talk in air, the fact of the case are as follows
Invoice Dispute turned into a criminal case:
Jigsaw Advertising has been doing business with Stayzilla for the past few years. The total value of business done has been more than Rs. 9 Crore till now. The vendor Jigsaw advertising, claims that Stayzilla has defaulted on a bill worth Rs 1.7 Cr generated last year.
Stayzilla maintains that they are to supposed to pay out less than Rs. 25 L (less than 10% of the total business value) which they have held back pending resolution of an invoice dispute. Stayzilla claims that Jigsaw has inflated the bill and wrongly presented it as Rs. 1.7 Cr. They have asked Jigsaw to correct the invoice amount and settle the bill at Rs. 25 L. Instead of going with invoice dispute resolution, Jigsaw filed a criminal complaint against Stayzilla’s founder and got him arrested.
If I am doing business, and a vendor bills me 100% extra on the actual services she has provided, what will I do? I will dispute the bill and ask her to correct it. In response, she threatens me, uses goons to intimidate me, abuses me over call, and uses her influence to get me arrested. When this happens to me, What will I do?
I don’t have the money or influence to fight such people. What if this sets a precedence? Anyone and everyone can now abuse the system and threaten me to pay more than the promised amount. How will I survive as a small entrepreneur? Especially, when an entrepreneur like Yogi is unable to fight them.
Goondaism, Political, and Police Abuse:
Jigsaw has used goondas, police and political to extort money from Stayzilla. Yogi’s letter gives a clear indicator of what has been going on for months. They have repeatedly abused Yogi and his family, they have made threatening calls have made rape threats to his mother and wife. What does a man do when that happens?
How am I supposed to start a business with no law and order in the country? The rich and the connected would always crush me while I am trying to build a company.
Aggressor acting as Victim:
What is shocking is the way they are presenting themselves as the victim here. Here is an established business, doing crores of business from just Stayzilla. They would be doing similar numbers with some others. Yet, they claim to be “poor middle-class family”.
Someone who is doing crores of business a month is a “poor middle-class family”?
There is this audio recording of a call, where Aditya from Jigsaw is abusing someone in Stayzilla, in the presence of his mother. He is giving rape threats to Yogi's wife and death threats to his kids. (Part of this is in Tamil)
Link to recording: instaud.io/QXD
They have written a letter to the honourable Prime Minister of India to support this women entrepreneur. I have not seen higher double standard than this at play.
If I come across such people during my entrepreneur journey, how do I stand up against them?
Not only will an incident like this stop and crush my startup dream, but it will also ruin my career. My character will be questioned, and I will be ridiculed at every step of my life.
Dear Narendra Modi, Honourable Prime Minister of India,
I see you as an inspiration sir, and I am excited about the launch of Startup India program. It has given aspirations to thousands of startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs like me.
This incident is setting a wrong precedence to the entire program. A simple case of a civil dispute has been wrongly converted into a criminal offense, through the use of political connections. As a result, a founder of a startup is languishing in jail for the past 20 odd days. In addition to this, there is a constant effort to malign their reputation and image.
What is happening is certainly not right? In the case of disputed invoices, arbitration is the right way to go. Criminal intimidation should not be condoned. The audited accounts of both Jigsaw and Stayzilla should be out to the public. The public should know who is wrong and who is right.
I urge you to please step into this issue and help resolve this case in the proper manner so that this does not set a precedence. I urge you to punish the wrongdoer so that other people do not follow a similar approach.
An Indian Entrepreneur
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