Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of homestay aggregator startup Stayzilla, Yogendra Vasupal, was arrested and sent to jail by the Chennai police commissioner after a case was filed against Vasupal by Jigsaw Advertising accusing him of fraud. Vasupal is said to be locked up in the Puzhal Central Prison as of now and hasn’t gotten bail yet.
Stayzilla, a Private Limited company, had an ongoing dispute with a Chennai-based advertising firm – Jigsaw Advertising , over deficiency of services provided. Jigsaw was handling the advertising for Stayzilla in Airports across India, and Stayzilla owed them nearly INR 1.5 Cr. for the same. Stayzilla had asked the company to move court but instead, the company filed a criminal case against the CEO and co-founder Vasupal, in Chennai, accusing him of cheating and intimidation among others. Point to be noted here is that by law, Stayzilla, the Private Limited Company registered, owe money to the advertising firm and not Vasupal in his personal capacity. Instead of a civil case, a criminal case was filed against Vasupal and he is now behind bars.
The news broke on Tuesday evening when Vasupal was reported missing by his cofounder, Sachit Singhi. Singhi had sent a mail with the title “Need help, Yogi is missing!” to his investors at Nexus Venture Partners Matrix Partners. The mail had said that Vasupal was last known to be at the station of Commissioner of Police, Egnore, and the police had taken away his phone.
In the email, Singhi mentioned that both he and Vasupal had been harassed by one Aditya from Jigsaw, who’d been demanding dues that were owed to him by Stayzilla. He says that over the last few months, Jigsaw had sent henchmen and made threatening phone calls, hoping to recover their money.
Founded in 2005, Stayzilla shut down its operations last month stating that it’ll reboot the operations with a new business model. It had raised nearly INR 200 Crore in funding prior to the shutdown.