The main allegation in the FIR, filed in a Delhi police station, is of forgery to usurp ShopClues from Sandeep and the subsequent misappropriation of funds
India’s leading online retailer ShopClues’s Founder Sandeep Aggarwal has filed a first information or FIR (equivalent of Writ of Petition), against his co-founder-wife Radhika Aggarwal and CEO Sanjay Sethi, accusing them of criminal conspiracy to kick him out of the company.
This development comes almost six months after Sandeep accused Radhika of stripping his voting rights at the company and having illicit relationship with Sethi. In a series of Facebook posts, he had also accused her of “intentionally and deliberately kicking out other founding team members by collaborating with once illicit love affair partner” and “changing web history, tempering with Wikipedia and lying in the press.”
The main allegation in the FIR, filed in a Delhi police station, is of forgery to usurp ShopClues from Sandeep and the subsequent misappropriation of funds, said a Hindustan Times report quoting his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal.
The problem between the couple started when Sandeep, a former equity analyst at US-based financial services firm Collins Stewart, was arrested in 2013 by the FBI over insider trading charges. According to the investigation agency, Sandeep tipped off Richard Lee, a portfolio manager at hedge fund SAC Capital about a pending deal between Microsoft and Yahoo. Sandeep was consequently banned by the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) from trading after he pleaded guilty. He was later released on a US$500,000 bond until trial.
After a few months, he came back to India. Upon his return, he found something wrong in the company and that his wife deliberately avoided him. He grew suspicious about her behaviour, as she appeared more close to Sethi.
Sandeep claims that he founded ShopClues in 2010 using his personal savings. Radhika and Sethi were hired later as Vice Presidents. Sethi was later inducted as Co-founder. When Sandeep was arrested in the US, he nominated Sethi as the new CEO to the Board and Radhika to be a Board member.
When he came back to India in August 2014, Sandeep claims, he found that ShopClues changed Sandeep’s right to nominate a board member way back in April 2014 and he was kept in dark by the two.
“Sandeep Aggarwal was arrested by the FBI and is awaiting his sentence in the US Courts and has filed the present FIR while concealing the fact that, he has previously made an attempt on similar grounds at Economic Offence Wing in Gurgaon but the case was closed in favour of the management of ShopClues. Mr Aggarwal is also out on bail in India and facing trials on the charges of criminal defamation, violence and outraging the modesty of women. The initiation of the instant FIR and seeking a media trial is nothing but an attempt by Mr Aggarwal to continue to malign the reputation of ShopClues,” said Sandeep Kapur, the legal representatives of ShopClues, in a statement.
ShopClues was founded in 2011 by Sandeep. Unlike other marketplaces, which tend to focus on mobile, electronics, computers and branded fashion, ShopClues mainly focusses on unstructured categories. As of January last year, the company shipped out over 3.5 million items on a monthly basis, attracting a traffic of more than 100 million visits a month. It had 350,000 registered SMB merchants selling on its platform. The firm launched multiple new services for seller marketing last year, including working capital loans, ShopClues Connect (chat services), Neighbourhood Market (hyperlocal discovery platform), logistics & payment services, and domain services.
In January last year, ShopClues raised an undisclosed amount in Series E round of funding led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, with participation from existing investors, including Tiger Global and Nexus Venture Partners. With this, it joined the billion dollar club with a US$1.1 billion valuation.
This funding came exactly a year after it received over US$100 million in Series D funding led by Tiger Global.
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