The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted a stay on the first information report (FIR) against OYO Hotels and Homes Private Ltd and Weddingz.in for alleged fraud and conspiracy.
The court has granted a stay order against the FIR filed by Chandigarh-based businessman Vikas Gupta in Derra Bassi town in Punjab on the plea of OYO Hotels.
OYO Spokesperson said, “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.”
The court was of the prima facie opinion that the dispute was civil in nature and that there was no involvement of any criminal offence, the spokesperson added.
Earlier this month, Vikas Gupta filed an FIR against OYO founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal, claiming that the company had illegally terminated its agreement with him. Gupta, in his FIR, alleged criminal intent on part of OYO.
According to Gupta, after OYO sent him a notice on March 16, asking him to submit a no-objection certificate and other relevant documents, it gave him just 15 days to comply, whereas according to the agreement, the notice time to be provided is 60 days.
Gupta has claimed that after he submitted the required documents in the stipulated time frame, instead of being paid damages by the company for illegally backing out of the agreement, he was sent a new notice by the company which accused him of criminal conspiracy and asked him to pay INR 5 Cr in penalties.
However, OYO had earlier refuted Gupta’s allegations, calling them an attempt to spread misinformation and malign the company’s global reputation.
Sharing his perspective, Advocate Manish Dhir, Chestlaw firm said, “The FIR in question is an ill-motivated effort to defame and harass OYO and to extort illegal gains from it. It has now become a trend amongst some parties to raise frivolous claims and file Frivolous FIRs in matters that are essentially civil and commercial in nature, to somehow overcome their own obligations under the contract and coerce the other side by tarnishing their image in public.”
In April, Inc42 reported that OYO had invoked the ‘force majeure’ clause and suspended payments to its hotel partners by citing the economic slowdown and the revenue impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company’s hotel partners had alleged then that the ‘force majeure’ clause wasn’t a part of the agreements they had signed with OYO.