OYO founder Ritesh booked for cheating hotelier of Rs. 1cr
OYO Hotels Founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal has been booked by the Whitefield police in Bengaluru on charges of cheating and criminal breach. Along with Agarwal, two other OYO representatives, Anand Reddy and Prathik Singh, have also been booked following a complaint by a city-based hotelier Natarajan VRS, who runs the Rajguru Shelter Hotels in BEML Layout in Whitefield. Here are more details.
OYO took 80% share instead of 20%, Natarajan alleged
In his complaint, Natarajan alleged that he had entered an agreement with OYO in June 2017, under which, OYO would give them reservations and take 20% of the earnings, while he would get 80%. However, Natarajan claimed that Agarwal, Reddy, and Singh took 80% of the share instead of 20%, cheating him to the tune of Rs. 1 crore.
Trio booked under IPC Sections 34, 406 and 420
According to The News Minute, the trio has been booked under Sections 34 (common intent), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. However, the Whitefield police refused to comment as the case is currently under investigation.
We strongly refute the claims made in the complaint: OYO
Meanwhile, an OYO spokesperson responded to the FIR saying, "This matter is currently sub judice, and we are not at the liberty of commenting on specifics." The spokesperson added, "Having said that, we strongly refute the claims made in the complaint that has been wrongfully filed against our Founder and two other office bearers, basis false claims and exaggeration on a regular commercial dispute."
OYO to take legal action against 'defamatory' complaint
The spokesperson further said, "Our lawyers are looking into the matter and will be taking strong legal action as these claims are incorrect and defamatory." According to International Business Times, the company also said that "people with vested interests" are trying to "sensationalize matters."
Earlier, budget hotels launched nationwide protest to boycott OYO
On a related note, last year, several budget hotels were upset with OYO for hurting their business with deep discounting, high commissions imposing hidden charges, and arbitrary contract changes. Several hotels across the nation had even started a protest to boycott OYO. The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India had in December warned action against OYO over the alleged breach of contracts.
FHRAI filed complaint to CCI in July this year
Earlier this year, OYO had launched complaint redressal solutions and promised its partners an 18% interest on delayed payments. However, hotel owners claimed OYO did not follow through and in July, the FHRAI filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India, which was dismissed.