Another FIR Lodged Against Oyo Founder For Cheating; Oyo Pleads Not Guilty [Updated: HC Puts A Stay Order On FIR]
Update: HC Has Put A Stay Order On FIR
The High Court has granted a stay order on the FIR against OYO and Weddingz.in Senior Leadership in Chandigarh since the dispute is civil in nature.
“We are elated by this development. OYO Hotels & Homes and all our businesses including Weddingz.in have always maintained the highest level of integrity, transparency and commitment to its hotel/venue partners. At all times, in compliance with the laws of the land and operate keeping in mind the best interests of our hotel/venue partners, customers and employees. We have and will continue to refute such baseless and publicity-oriented claims made against the company’s executives. We have full faith in the Indian judicial system and are deeply grateful to the Hon’ble High Court upholding our rights on this matter,” said on OYO spokesperson.
A First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against Oyo Hotels and Homes Private Limited (OHHPL) founder and CEO, Ritesh Agarwal, and CEO of OHHPL’s brand Weddingz.in, Sandeep Lodha for cheating a Chandigarh businessman.
Read on to find out the whole story…
Oyo Booked For Fraud and Conspiracy!
In 2019, Vikas Gupta’s Vikas Mineral Foods Limited (VMFL), which runs a marriage palace Casa Villaz Resorts in Dera Bassi signed an agreement with OHHPL.
Last week, Dera Bassi police registered a case after Gupta alleged that the OHHPL top management ended an agreement with him illegally and with ‘criminal intent’.
Vikas Gupta held a press conference on Monday to address this issue.
At the press conference, Gupta said he had submitted all the documents that OHHPL had asked for. After the company’s management, including finance and legal teams, were satisfied with the paperwork the agreement was signed. Following which, Gupta’s VMFL began running Casa Villaz Resorts.
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic, resultant lockdowns banned gathering of public events like weddings apparently OHHPL started fearing losses as alleged by Gupta.
According to Gupta, OHHPL conspired against him and sent him a notice on March 3, 2020, to again submit the NOCs and other documents. He said the company gave him a 15-day notice to reply whereas the agreement stated a 30-day notice period to any party wishing to end the agreement. Gupta alleged the documents OHHPL had demanded had been already submitted by him earlier.
However, after a few days, OHHPL ended the agreement.
Soon after OHHPL wriggled out of the agreement, Gupta alleged, OHHPL sent him a notice. The company instead of making damage payments for ending the agreement fined him around Rs 5 crore as “part of a criminal conspiracy to make huge and easy money through pressure tactic”, alleged Gupta.
Gupta also alleged that what OHHPL was doing was with “criminal intent,” as the name of the resort was still being used by OHHPL, and “innocent people were being cheated of money by booking marriages.”
Gupta said there is evidence that weddings had been booked until December 2020. He also said that he was being made a scapegoat in the whole modus operandi.
Hence, Dera Bassi police station registered a case under Section 420 (cheating) and 120-B ( criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against Ritesh Agarwal and Sandeep Lodha.
Oyo Refutes Charges!
Late on Monday, an Oyo spokesperson while denying charges said: “OYO Hotels & Homes and all its businesses including Weddingz.in have always maintained the highest level of integrity, transparency, and commitment to its venue partners and operates keeping in mind the mutual interests of its venue partners, customers and employees. OYO refutes such baseless and publicity-oriented claims made against the company’s founder and other executives.”
Oyo issued a statement which read: “In the present issue, the dispute between the contracting parties is civil and commercial in nature and there is no criminality involved. Any disputes between the parties ought to be adjudicated by the arbitral tribunal and moreover, both parties have already nominated /proposed arbitrators vide their arbitration notices, under the arbitration clause in the contract signed between both parties. In spite of the same, such frivolous FIRs in matters that are essentially civil disputes are filed against reputed CEOs, young Indian entrepreneurs only with a malafide intent to harass the corporate and its senior management and to damage global reputation of OYO Hotels & Homes and India as a destination for global business.”
Oyo’s statement pointed out the allegations “baseless, incorrect and defamatory in nature.”
The Oyo statement further read: “On a similar matter where an FIR was wrongfully filed against OYO, the Honourable Karnataka High Court while observing that the issue was civil in nature, granted an interim relief in favour of OYO. OYO has reposed its faith in the judicial system and will submit its representations to the higher administrative authorities and judiciary to ensure that justice prevails.”