Bengaluru-based co-living startup Homigo’s fraud case has been transferred to Central Crime Branch (CCB) Bengaluru. Homigo founders and the main accused in the case — Jatin Mutruka, Akash Verma and Nikunja Batheja — are however still on the run.
The Homigo founders are accused of running away with about INR 20 Cr, worth funds from the deposits and rents paid by tenants residing in its more than 100 leased properties across Bengaluru.
The case was transferred to CCB, 15 days back, however, it’s only now that CCB has started investigating the matter owing to the general election which occurred on April 18 in Bengaluru. Head of fraud and misappropriation wing of CCB, ACP Laxmi Narayan is heading the investigation, a CCB official who is part of the investigation team told Inc42.
Founded in 2015, Homigo was an online platform to rent designed and furnished places with an inventory of more than 2,000 beds. The company was also said to be in talks to raise around INR 14 Cr – INR 28 Cr ($2 Mn – $4 Mn) by March 9-10. Also, there were acquisition talks with Bengaluru-based online home rental marketplace Nestaway.
However, both of the deals did not materialise and Nestaway has issued a notice to Homigo users that it is not in possession of their deposits.
Earlier on March 19, advocate Ashok D P had filed a bail plea at Bengaluru Sessions Court on behalf of the three cofounders. However, the Sessions Court on March 26 had rejected their bail plea.
The bail plea filed under Section 438 of Cr.P.C (Criminal Procedure Code) claimed that the founders are innocent of the alleged offences and that they have not committed any offences as alleged by the complainants. The bail plea had also said that the founders hail from respectable families and are ready and willing to abide by the conditions imposed by the court.
However, Subhash Sankad, Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, dismissing the anticipatory bail petition said,
“Looking into the factual aspects of the case and the materials placed before the court, I am of the view that the petitioners (Homigo founders) have committed the default in payment of money, and they have done this to many people. Under such circumstances, if the anticipatory bail is granted, anticipatory bail certainly they would misuse the order and there are every chances to commit the same offence with the many other persons. Under such circumstances, I decline to grant anticipatory bail.”
The founders have reportedly not filed any bail plea either at the Sessions Court or at the Bengaluru High Court, since then.