This morning, I woke up to my colleague sending me a news article about the arrest of Stayzilla co-founder Yogendra Vasupal. It stated that he has been arrested on charges of defrauding an ad agency and he has reportedly confessed to the charges. However, the news article shared only a small, slightly skewed, piece of what is going on. Something that Yogendra put in detail in a blog post titled “Help! I need everybody” along with proofs to support his statements. The blog post was written by him in advance anticipating such a scenario and it was published by Rupal Yogendra at 2:22 am on March 15/2017.
You can find the full blog post here.
The ad agency in question here dismisses the claim that the payment was held due to deficiency of service. According to them, this was never communicated to them and that Stayzilla acknowledged the invoices earlier. While it won’t be right to pass verdicts here as it is for the courts to determine, it is quite apparent from his blog post and the supporting videos and audios that there is a clear situation of threat to them. The entire situation very well highlights the hollow foundation under the heavy promises of a startup ecosystem. The government has been blowing trumpets about its Startup India initiative but what good will come out if it can’t promise equality and fair law. Law enforcement agencies who don’t understand law! Dismissing real threats despite reports! Political influence dominating visible proofs!
The country can’t claim to support the startups if the root of all problems, corruption, isn’t addressed. If 70 percent of the population has first hand experience of bribery, something isn’t right. If someone with political influence has power to bend laws, there is something wrong here too. This isn’t just about what a company is facing right now. It is about the road we are paving for hundreds of other companies.
I urge the readers to help an entrepreneur by getting the attention of people who can do right in this situation. Maybe he is right, maybe he is not. But the way this situation is being dealt with clearly isn’t right. Please tweet this to PMO India, PriyankKharge and anyone else who you think can set things right.