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Finally, Stayzilla Co-founder Yogendra Vasupal Granted Bail

Finally, Stayzilla Co-founder Yogendra Vasupal Granted Bail

Yogendra Vasupal, CEO and co-founder of defunct homestay network Stayzilla, was finally granted bail by Madras High Court after spending over 25 days in jail.

Vasupal was arrested on fraud charges by the Chennai police on March 14, 2017. The FIR was filed under IPC sections 420 – Cheating, 406 – (Criminal Breach of Trust), and 506 (i) – Criminal Intimidation.

Last week it was reported that a bail application was submitted to the Madras High Court, for Vasupal’s bail. The hearing was scheduled for Monday but, later on, it was postponed to today.

Reports suggest that Vasupal was granted bail on a condition that he should deposit about $62K (INR 40 Lakhs) with the court. The money is not a bail payout but a surety that Stayzilla and its co-founders have sufficient funds to pay off Jigsaw in case the aforementioned allegations prove to be true.

As per the report, the counsellor for Jigsaw pushed for an out of court settlement today. However, Vasupal’s counsellors denied the offer stating that Vasupal was not ready for a settlement. Judge S Baskaran, termed the case as ‘purely a dispute between two businessmen’ while granting the bail.

Industry stalwart Sharad Sharma took to Twitter to express his thoughts.

Vasupal was arrested on charges of fraud for about $265K (INR 1.72 Cr) by Jigsaw Advertising Agency. A Medium blogpost, written by Yogendra appeared hours after his arrest, as a cry for help from a founder who claimed to have been wrongfully arrested.

The blog highlighted, how the Stayzilla founders were threatened by the landlord first and then by vendors for money and payback. One such vendor, Jigsaw, had lodged a complaint at the Mylapore police station in Chennai against both Vasupal and Singhi, accusing them of fraud. Following which, Vasupal was arrested.

On March 23, 2017 the Special Metropolitan Magistrate court for CCB-CBCID dismissed Vasupal’s bail plea for the first time. Vasupal was denied bail for the second time on March 29, 2017 by principal sessions Judge M Nazir Ahmed in the case of allegedly cheating the above-mentioned advertising vendor. At that time, it was reported that the bail plea of Vasupal and anticipatory bail application of co-founder Sachit Singhi were dismissed.

As per sources close to the development, Stayzilla owed a total amount of about $1.38 Mn (INR 9 Cr ) to Jigsaw. Of this, only the disputed amount of about $265K  (INR 1.72 Cr) of the billboards is disputed and not paid by the Stayzilla team yet.

Update 1 – Tuesday 8:40 PM

Here are few facts about the hearing today

  • The Court refused to order mediation, requested by Jigsaw and stated that the case is a business transaction dispute between two companies. He also said that he won’t pass any mediation order as civil disputes should be left to parties. This indicates case is a civil case and not criminal case.
  • The bail surety and bond will be provided to showcase that Stayzilla has assets and is in a position to pay off the dues if the need arises.
  • Vasupal’s bail is not conditional bail as except surety bond for bail there are no conditions. Conditional bail is applicable when court asks the accused to surrender the passport, report to police everyday for investigation. This is not the case for Yogi.
  • Further details on the court bail order will be given tomorrow. Vasupal is expected to be released tomorrow after all the formalities are completed by tomorrow.

Author

Aparna Mishra

Inc42 Staff

After a 2-year-stint at Ernst & Young, Aparna moved to Journalism. Her prior experience enables her to understand business management. An avid reader and a traveller she hopes to gain insights on the startup ecosystem at Inc42.

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