Showing solidarity with their peer, the Indian Startup industry has whole-heartedly come out in the support of Stayzilla founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Yogendra Vasupal (Yogi), who is currently locked up in a Chennai jail for not paying up dues to the tune of INR 17.2 million (approx US$259,000) that the startup reportedly owed to Chennai based advertising agency, Jigsaw Advertising.
Raising their voice against the unfair and illegal treatment being vetted out to Vasupal, Founders of over 400 Indian startups have written an open letter to country’s Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh requesting a fair investigation into the whole Stayzilla issue and getting Vasupal released as soon as possible.
The open letter is being folated on a website, Help Yogi, which has been especially created by the startup industry in support of the Stayzilla founder. The letter that urges that Union Home Minister “to look into this matter and ensure that expeditious justice is provided to Yogi,” has over 400 signatures till the time of filing this story. Some of the prominent names amongst the signatories include Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma; OlaCabs Co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal; Infosys’ Mohandas Pai, Practo’s Shashank ND; and NestAway’s Amarendra Sahu and Jitendra Jagdev.
The letter, which is addressed to the Union Home Minister has also been marked to Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry; Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog; Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu; Rajiv Mehrishi, Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; and Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
Vasupal was arrested last week following complaints from vendors about non-payment of dues. It is important to note here, that Stayzilla, which claimed to be the largest platform (website and app) for verified homestays and alternate stays in India, had decided to shutdown its shop abruptly last month (Read Here). A blog post written by Vasupal, just a few hours prior to his arrest, said that some scary dolls were delivered to the home of Stayzilla CEO Sachit Singhvi on March 9 bearing the image of his son. In a video posted by the Stayzilla CEO, a man can been seen assaulting a company employee. In the blog post, he had also alleged that he was being hounded by his landlords and Jigsaw Advertising.
According to the open letter, Yogi is being forced to confess a crime he has never committed.
The letter concludes by stating, “We are standing up together as a community and believers in the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “Startup India. Stand-up India” to call for a free and fair investigation into the dispute and strongly oppose any abuse of power to subvert the law of land. We humbly request you to look into this matter and ensure that expeditious justice is provided to Yogi [Yogendra Vasupal].”
You can join the #HelpYogi campaign, by signing here.