The arrest of Stayzilla CEO Vasupal has churned a major controversy. TIE Chennai, a community of entrepreneurs in Chennai has condemned the arrest and said that the ‘ugly’ situation would take Tamil Nadu to the ‘medieval periods’.
Vasupal was remanded to custody on Tuesday by the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai police on charges of defrauding a media agency called Jigsaw media of Rs. 1.72 crore.
Hours after his arrest, a blog appeared in Medium.com in which Vasupal shared pictures of a voodoo doll that his co-founder and CFO Sachit Singhi, got, with a picture of his child attached to it.
It has now emerged that Aditya CS, advertising professional with Chennai-based Jigsaw media buying agency, was looking for ‘voodoo dolls’ online, days before Sachit Singhi of Stayzilla got such a doll at his door.
In a blog published by Stayzilla founder-CEO Yogendra Vasupal and his wife Rupal, it was mentioned that Sachit “got some doll delivered to his home on March 9th with the image of his son”.
Social media users have uploaded screenshots of Aditya CS looking for voodoo dolls on a Facebook forum. On the FB group ‘Chennai Shopping’, Aditya CS was seen asking where he can buy them or get them made on February 26. On February 24, Stayzilla announced that it was shutting down for a ‘reboot’. A few people sent these screenshots to TNM.
Did Aditya have anything to do with the dolls which were sent to Singhi’s home? We asked him.
"Yes, I posted on that group for a voodoo doll. I wanted it for a shoot. My friends and I are planning to make a spoof of the Malayalam movie 'Ezra' and I wanted a voodoo doll for that. But I haven't found one yet because I have no idea where to get it from. Stayzilla CEO must have seen this request on Facebook and taken a cue from that to plant a voodoo doll in their story," says Aditya CS, when asked about this coincidence.
Aditya also sent his e-ticket for the movie as proof.
TIE condemns arrest
R Narayanan, President of TEI alleged that unsubstantiated data was purposely used to intimidate Vasupal and that the system has made it hard for start-ups to grow.
He alleged that although the incident was a civil matter it was being perceived as a “criminal case”.
He said, “It is a civil case and converting it into a criminal case, one is seeking more than they have a right on in this case.”
In a press meet in Chennai, he mentioned that although the PM talks about enabling start ups to create a more innovative ecosystem, things on the ground were tough with them having to battle against bureaucracy and corruption.
“I have been extremely positive about the start up environment in Tamil Nadu, When incidents like this happen, which includes threats and intimidation, it clearly reflects badly on the state. The morale goe down and companies would migrate from Tamil Nadu,” he said.
“Moreover, how can one get an FIR filed so quickly? Due to such cases, more and more people think that they can use such mechanism and harass family members,” he said.
K Purushothaman, regional director of NASSCOM said, "We need to wait and watch, judiciary and police need to take care of the issue. It looks like a case of harassment, from the way newspapers and social media has presented it."