WhiteHat Jr founder files Rs 20 cr defamation suit against critic

The lawsuit has been filed against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who publicly slammed the company for its aggressive marketing tactics.
Karan Bajaj
Karan Bajaj
Written by:

Karan Bajaj, founder of online coding classes startup WhiteHat Jr, owned by ed-tech company BYJUs, has filed a Rs 20 crore lawsuit against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who publicly slammed the company for its marketing tactics. Bajaj has accused Poonia of "infringing trademarks and copyright of properties owned by WhiteHat Jr, defaming and spreading misleading information about the startup and its founder, and accessing the company's private communications app". Meanwhile, the hearing for the suit has begun in the Delhi High Court.

This comes after Poonia, through YouTube videos and on Twitter, alleged that the WhiteHat Jr team discussed all social media posts criticising the company in an internal chat and that they targeted these individuals through their personal accounts or using fake IDs. He posted screenshots allegedly of the company’s slack account as proof of the same.

The lawsuit claimed that Poonia recorded sessions of some WhiteHat Jr classes and asked questions that were not relevant to the course to "humiliate and harass" the teachers and then posted them online.

The lawsuit also accuses "Poonia of publicly sharing phone numbers of WhiteHat Jr employees and making strong accusations such as likening the startup's marketing tactics to "child sexual abuse." However, Poonia has posted yet another tweet and posted a screenshot of another chat, allegedly between Whitehat Jr staff.

WhiteHat Jr has come under severe criticism in the past for its aggressive marketing tactics and misleading advertisements showing young children as having achieved great heights through coding including claims to these kids bagging jobs with top tech companies with salaries running into crores of rupees.

However, the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), last month, asked WhiteHat Jr to take down at least five such advertisements as they were in violation of the code for making unsubstantiated claims.

In addition, WhiteHat Jr, along with its parent firm Byju’s have also been criticised for attempting to silence any dissent or negative feedback against the company and taking down videos and LinkedIn posts by claiming copyright violation.

Byju's in August acquired Mumbai-based WhiteHat Jr in an all-cash deal worth $300 million (roughly Rs 2,246 crore). Bajaj, WhiteHat Jr Founder and former Discovery Networks India CEO continues to lead and scale the business in India and the US.

WhiteHat Jr had recently announced their plans to expand to other global markets like Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand after a stellar growth in the US for its one-to-one online coding classes. After launching their courses in the US in February, the company claims to be growing at more than 100 per cent (month-on-month) in the country.

Founded in November 2018, WhiteHat Jr helps kids aged 6 to 14 years build commercial-ready games, animations and apps online using the fundamentals of coding.

With IANS inputs

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute