The blog post states that Yogi, as Vasupal is popularly known in the Indian startup industry, was in the process of liquidation (before his arrest) of assets that were not generating revenue and focus on vehicles which had a good opportunity in the current system. Company was also in the parallel process of collection from debtors and other pay offs.
“Company is still ACTIVE. So criminalizing a person who was solely and earnestly working towards these closures has blocked the path for everyone else for Aditya’s selfish reasons. It is not only hurtful to Stayzilla’s existing partners but also demoralizing for entrepreneurs across,” the blog post said.
Yogi was arrested last week, on “criminal charges” initiated by Chennai based advertising agency, Jigsaw Advertising and its CEO, CS Aditya, alleging that Yogi and his partner Sachit Singhi owed the company INR 17.2 million (approx US$259,000).
Chennai’s special court, today, while rejecting Yogi’s bail plea granted Central Crime Branch one-day custody of Yogi, in connection with the case.
Let truth prevail
While urging the Press, Entrepreneurs, Investors and Government officials to: “Get Yogi out first and LET THE TRUTH PREVAIL!!!” the blog post questioned:
“HOW did a civil matter become Criminal?”, and if it is done to Yogi — it can be done to any entrepreneur(any one infact).”
The post accuses Jigsaw CEO CS Aditya of “crime” he did to Yogi’s families —: “life threat to our kids, rape threat and false brothel case threat (refer to Yogi’s previous blog for the call record) and we are still living in tremendous fear, anxiety & insecurity.”
Clarification on siphoning claims
The article also posts “Clarifications to false siphoning claims” with details of Yogi and his partner Sachit Singhi’s salaries, credit cards used to make online payments towards server fee and online purchases of tools and softwares like GITHUB, AWS, JIRA etc. It also refers to details of payments made to Yogi’s father as rent paid for office premises.
“The monthly payout to Yogi’s dad that was ‘exposed’ and categorized as siphoning (cheap trick), which also got wrongly picked by some media without verification. It is actually the monthly rental under a Rental Agreement for Yogi’s dad’s apartment that is Stayzilla’s registered office in R.A Puram, under Inasra Technologies Pvt Ltd since 2013 till date. This was not formalized in the initial years of occupation since 2007 but was done in 2013 after investments were received.
“Even during formalization, the rent was kept low at Rs.55000 monthly rental for his dad’s 1800 sq ft in comparison to Rs.90000 monthly rental for a space of 2000 Sqft that was being used as an extended office space in the apartment complex from an unrelated party.
“Our point is that there’s a record for every such related party transaction that one is trying to dig up on Yogi and Sachit. Humbly request everyone to verify facts before propagating false information. We will provide backing proof for everything to concerned parties. #helpyogi #ReleaseYogiNow so facts are known.”
The post goes on to state that Yogi was in the process of “complete restructuring (reboot) of Stayzilla and had begun discussions with prospects in the accommodation and tourism space. He even attended a travel summit in Delhi in the 2nd week of March to begin his discussions on the reboot. He was in the process of liquidation of assets that were not generating revenue and focus on vehicles which had a good opportunity in the current system.”
It said that Yogi’s family, friends, ex-employees, management and board fully support him and stand strong with him.
Ravindra Krishnappa, who was an investor and Director with Stayzilla till 2015, told Techseen, that he has spoken to Yogi’s family and Board members, and that he is “confident” that this is a case of a disputed invoice with the vendor for non-performance of services under dispute with the company.
“Yogi believes that this is a civil matter being dragged into the criminal domain to exert pressure and has expressed a desire to continue to fight it in the legal system,” Krishnappa said.
He also said that there has been no check bounce, and Yogi’s family has categorically stated that.
Meanwhile, the industry has come out in full support of Yogi and contends that no one should be allowed to use intimidating tactics and at the most it was a civil case, which has been made into a criminal case, using political connections.
The industry, on Monday, this week, came up with a website, Help Yogi, that has a letter addressed to Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, urging “to look into this matter and ensure that expeditious justice is provided to Yogi.”
The campaign, which is open for signatures from the industry, has garnered over 440 signatures since Monday. Some prominent names amongst the signatories include Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO, Paytm; Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder, OlaCabs; Mohandas Pai, Board member of Infosys; Amarendra Sahu of NestAway.
The petition to the Home Minister is also backed by industry bodies — CII, IAMAI, ISPIRT, FICCI, TiE, and NASSCOM.
The letter has also been marked to Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman; Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog; Edappadi K Palaniswami, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu; Rajiv Mehrishi, Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; and Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.