Analyzing StayZilla Case: This is about an invoice dispute only.

Stayzilla / Yogi Case
Stayzilla / Yogi Case

It is getting clear that the disagreement between Stayzilla and Jigsaw is about an invoice and payment due. There were no fraud or cheating involved.

Yesterday, Aditya released proof stating, there was no service deficiency. There were copies of hoardings and email threads. The emails shared are of Nov, Dec, and Jan, when they got the order for the hoardings. The next email is from Apr, 16 where Jigsaw submits an invoice with proofs. The next email is from Nov.

In one FB discussion, Sharad Sharma stated:

From what I have seen, two things are very clear:
1. Aditya was made fully aware of deficient service in March’16. He had to produce proper proof of service which he had not done till Dec 2nd.
2. 37 vendors were paid more than Rs 50cr from Jan to Oct. Plus jigsaw was paid Rs 3cr in this period.
So this isn’t about fraud. Let’s be clear about that.

Two cases come out of this.

1. As per the claims by Jigsaw, they never saw any payment since Feb 16 is false. They have got regular payments in Crores in this period. The bills which were not disputed were getting cleared. Only the payment was on hold for the disputed ones.

2. Stayzilla has informed them about their issues with the invoice, which prompted them to come up with a proof document. (These ad campaigns was carried out in Jan and Feb)

On one side, Jigsaw is saying that the invoices were not disputed. On the other side, Stayzilla claims, the invoice amount is disputed. On one side, Jigsaw claims there was no deficiency of service. On the other hand, Stayzilla claims the hoardings were put in cheap, unviable locations, and not in the prominent positions as invoiced by Aditya.

What were the communication, between this period? What was Stayzilla’s replies after the invoice was submitted? While the email screenshots do throw more light on the incident, it appears, there are still crucial facts being hidden between this period.

Can we request Aditya to share those emails as well? Is he again saying half-truths and hiding inconvenient facts?

One thing is getting clear though, this case can not be about fraud or any criminal intent behind non-payment of the dues. This is clearly a dispute of invoice.

Sharad says the same:

So what is this about?
It about an invoice dispute.
This is about a civil matter which needs to be dealt in the right fashion. Criminal charges were filed to harass and extort money.

This is a civil case. This should be settled by an arbitrator who could hear both sides of the story and help them come to an agreement.

The use of threats, police, and influence is a clear abuse of law and order, something which should not be tolerated in any place, especially in the startup ecosystem.

Sharad adds,

Had Aditya approached it the right way or even now does a mea-culpa (and drops the criminal charges), the ecosystem (me included) will be behind him and help him get his rightful dues.

The ecosystem, supported by 1000+ founders have stood up against the abuse of law and order, to settle a civil dispute. They are angry about the goondaism, and use of influence. They have gone on record on TV, saying the same. Had Aditya approached this in the right fashion, the ecosystem would have been behind him and even helped him get his dues from Stayzilla.

The ecosystem is not fighting against the dues. The fight is against the abuse of law and order, and use of goondaism and influence. This is a fight between a startup and an old school goonda-raj business.

It is now clear that Yogi should not be in jail. Goondaism to settle invoice disputes must stop.

Few things are getting clear, and few things are still not clear.

  1. Why did Aditya file a criminal case against what is clearly a civil dispute? 
  2. Stayzilla claims this is an invoice dispute. Is there an email where they have sent this objection in written? 
  3. Jigsaw claims, there is no invoice dispute.  Has there been any communication from Stayzilla where they have accepted the invoice and agreed to pay?

The proofs submitted thus far from Aditya and Jigsaw does not have any claim where Stayzilla has accepted the invoice amount or promised a payment, but not paid. An invoice in itself does not mean the other party has agreed to make the payment.

There are multiple requests coming from Jigsaw and people close to Aditya asking Stayzilla to come for a settlement. That is the right step. Someone should play the role of an arbitrator and help settle this issue.

A settlement can not happen at gunpoint though. The first step should be to drop the criminal charges and let Yogi come out of jail. The next step would be a settlement.

Indian founders come together in support of Yogi #OpenLetter

Indian founders have signed an open letter addressed to Shri. Rajnath Singh Ji, Hon’ble Home Minister asking the government to intervene.

We would like to express our concern and draw your attention towards the manner in which Yogendra Vasupal (Yogi), Founder and CEO, Stayzilla was arrested with regard to the matter registered as FIR 71/2017 CCB Chennai and the alleged influence including harassment by the concerned officials in Chennai, Tamilnadu.
Although we do not wish to prejudge to the matter, the Stayzilla case and it’s locked up founder underscore the hardships of being an entrepreneur in India.  If ever there’s a right to be an entrepreneur, that’s clearly been violated. Period.
The question is not how this will affect entrepreneurship today, but how young Indians looking to become entrepreneurs in the future will give up even before starting up.
You can find as many technical flaws and loopholes about a client-vendor contract (which by the way can be contested in the long term), and go roundabouts regarding how “an innocent” vendor was forced to abuse, intimidate and even send voodoo dolls with the picture of entrepreneur’s kids.

The point is, all this appears to be a Bollywood nightmare, and unlike the movies, there are no real life superheroes to fight the battle. How you wish there actually was a superman who could stop it then and there. This doesn’t necessarily wipe out the faith in judiciary. If anything, a fair judicial probe and hearing, is the only hope from hereon.

But all this does shake the faith when it comes to starting up in India, building a company from scratch. As a founder, we already have enough battlefronts, from acquiring customers to funding growth and ensuring the startup doesn’t die. You add a disgruntled vendor using position of power and influential network to make you go through hell, and suddenly, it becomes a battle lost.

» Sign the petition.
Recommended Read : Why am I supporting Yogi / Recap of the entire Stayzilla/ Yogi case.

The Yogi Story

We recommend you to watch Yogi’s talk around his entrepreneurial journey at UnPluggd, India’s biggest startup conference.

Update on Stayzilla Case.

Here are the latest updates regarding Stayzilla case.

Update on March 23rd

Bail plea for Yogi has been rejected.

Update on March 22nd, 8:00 PM

The court has reserved the orders.

Update on 17th March, 11:50 AM :

The bail hearing is not happening today and is expected to be heard on Monday.

We wonder whether this is a pressure tactics to force Yogi into settlement?
Update on 17th March, 8:00 AM :
We expect the hearing to happen today (i.e.March 17th)
Read :

Earlier development.
1. There will be bail plea moved in front of magistrate court today by Yogi’s Lawyer.
2. There is a chance that bail might be difficult to obtain today given the influence we have seen till now by police opposing for it.
3. There is concrete effort to discredit and impact Yogi’s reputation. The VCs and Stayzilla employees claim there is no foul play and are vouching for his integrity. Investors have said this after due diligence of the account and they are in full support of Yogi and the Stayzilla team.
4. The effort to support Yogi and Stayzilla is a community driven because a civil matter cannot become criminal matter without the political influence. WE ALL STAND BY HIM !
5. We don’t want muscle power to influence the due course of law. As a community, all of should standup and we are proud of people who stood up.
Once Yogi issue is resolved, we should work on a larger cause of making it easier for founders to wind up companies in India.
For the startup ecosystem to thrive in this country, the government needs to clearly lay down rules for shutdown and importantly, protect entrepreneurs from gundaraj.
[Last updated : March 16th, 08:56 AM]
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The Yogi Story

We recommend you to watch Yogi’s talk around his entrepreneurial journey at UnPluggd, India’s biggest startup conference.