As per news reports released in April 2017, Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal along with CFO Vijay Ajmera were summoned by the court on 17th May for stealing marketing concept. This was done based on Gaurav Dua’s allegations that the trio stole his business concept, which he had shared with Ajmera.
Following the complaints, Delhi court has asked Snapdeal co-founders and CFO to respond by 31st August, 2017.
Dua’s side of story:
- Dua launched an ecommerce company Indianretail.net in 2005, which was an upgraded version of his previous venture Marketsindelhi.com started in 1999
- Indianretail’s business model was that it allowed offline brands/businesses to sell online
- Dua applied for the patent in 2007, got the certificate in 2008
- Dua and Snapdeal’s CFO Ajmera used to work together at NDTV Convergence. Dua left NDTV in 2010 and joined Snapdeal
- In 2010, Ajmera helped Dua to create fundraising business proposal for Indianretail and arranged a meeting with an investor in January 2011
- Ajmera extracted information regarding Indianretail from Dua between 2010 and 2011, including trade secrets
- In September 2011, Snapdeal transitioned from a deals website to an online marketplace model
“Snapdeal.com was operating as a daily deals site, an absolutely different business model. However, Ajmera, Bahl and Bansal used the opportunity to launch a new business based on my plans, which they had fraudulently taken from me,” claimed Dua
What happened after Snapdeal became a marketplace?
According to Dua, Snapdeal offered him three things when he confronted them. They were:
- Assistance in raising funds for his business
- Compensation for stealing his idea
- Job at Snapdeal with stock options
This went on from 2011 to 2014. When none of the three happened, Dua approached the police in December 2014.
“We went to police in December 2014 but they did not do anything. Then, we went to court and it asked the police to submit a report…Then the trial happened. Four months down the line, the court also took cognisance of cheating under Section 417,” said Dua.
However, court rejected Dua’s plea against Snapdeal in December 2016. He filed a new petition again in March 2017, which was not only accepted but Snapdeal was also issued summons by the court.
Snapdeal finds no merit in Dua’s petition
According to home-grown etailer Snapdeal, Gaurav Dua’s allegations are unsubstantiated and malicious.
The marketplace’s spokesperson said,
“The allegations made in the revised petition filed by Mr. Gaurav Dua are absolutely baseless and devoid of any merit. A previous complaint filed by Mr. Dua in this regard has been dismissed by the competent court and was found to be baseless and without any merit…The revised petition is an abuse of the process of law and has been filed with malicious intent to harm the reputation of the named individuals. The company intends to take all legal remedies against Mr. Dua in this regard.”
Snapdeal is on a rejection spree or a lying spree? The etailer rejected sellers’ claims about unpaid dues. Also, would this cheating case affect Snapdeal’s due diligence report, which is underway as Flipkart prepares to acquire the Bahl-led company? Is this another fraud like AskMe in the making?