OYO Refutes Baseless Charges by Chandigarh Venue Partner

Chandigarh, 15th September 2020: OYO Hotels & Homes, has strongly refuted the wrongfully filed FIR against OYO Hotels and Homes Pvt Ltd (OHHPL), and its executives by Mr. Vikas Gupta, the owner of Casavillaz in Mohali, Chandigarh on 11th September 2020. The company has clarified that the allegations leveled against the company and certain individuals are completely false, baseless, and unsubstantiated, solely intended to spread misinformation and malign OYO’s global reputation.

  • The dispute between the contracting parties is civil and commercial in nature and there is no criminality involved

On entering an agreement with venue partners and onboarding a property, as a policy to ensure compliance with all legal requirements, OYO’s business Weddingz.in maintains all necessary approvals and regulatory licenses, NOCs, among other documents. In this case, the complainant submitted only a few compliance documents and assured the company that the rest of the documents will be submitted in due course of time. However, despite several requests and follow-ups, the venue partner failed to submit the remaining documents, in breach of OYO’s agreement and due diligence and therefore the contract was terminated.

  • In spite of both parties nominating arbitrators under the arbitration clause in the contract (signed by both parties), the venue partner Vikas Gupta has filed an FIR with a malafide intent to harass OYO and its senior management and to damage the global reputation of OYO Hotels & Homes and India as a destination for global business

Given this, the Chandigarh-based venue partner’s FIR stating fraud and criminal conspiracy, contains several misrepresentations of facts and inaccurate information about events related to the agreement, merely to smear the company and its leadership’s reputation seeking undue public attention.  Both OYO and the complainant have signed an agreement that carries a detailed dispute resolution mechanism, hence, this matter does not fall under criminal jurisdiction. This, in fact, is a purely commercial civil dispute that should be lawfully resolved by the civil authorities/courts.

Refuting all false claims by the Chandigarh venue partner, an OYO Spokesperson said, “OYO Hotels & Homes and all its businesses including Weddingz.in have always maintained the highest level of integrity, transparency, and commitment to its venue partners. OYO at all times follows the laws of the land and operates keeping in mind the best interests of its venue partners, customers, and employees. OYO has and will continue to refute baseless and publicity-oriented claims made against the company’s founder and other executives. In the present issue both the parties have agreed to the arbitration clause and have, as a matter of fact, accordingly nominated/proposed arbitrators vide their arbitration notices dated 24th April, 2020 issued by OYO’s counsel and dated 22nd May, 2020 responded by the Venue Partner through his counsel. Disputes between the contracting parties are civil and commercial in nature and there is no criminality involved. Any disputes between the parties ought to be adjudicated by a duly appointed arbitral tribunal in accordance with the terms of the agreement between the parties and rules prescribed under The Arbitration Act. In spite of the same, such frivolous FIRs in matters that are essentially civil disputes are filed against reputed CEOs, young Indian entrepreneurs damage the global reputation of OYO Hotels & Homes and India as a destination for global business.”

This matter is currently sub judice and is under investigation. Hence, we are not at the liberty of commenting on the merits of the matter. Having said that, our legal team is looking into the matter and taking all the necessary steps as these claims are incorrect and defamatory in nature. On studying a similar matter where an FIR was wrongfully filed against OYO, the Honourable Karnataka High Court while observing that the issue was civil in nature, granted interim relief in favor of OYO. OYO, therefore, has strong reasons to repose its faith in the judicial system. OYO respects the law of the land and believes that justice will prevail.”

Sharing his perspective on such civil disputes and this case specifically, Advocate Manish Dhir, Chestlaw firm said, “The FIR in question is an ill-motivated effort to defame and harass OYO and to extort illegal gains from it. It has now become a trend amongst some parties to raise frivolous claims and file Frivolous FIRs in matters that are essentially civil and commercial in nature, to somehow overcome their own obligations under the contract and coerce the other side by tarnishing their image in public. The FIR should not have been filed in the first place, as such FIRs not just cause harm and prejudice to the target (in this case OYO), but also discourages the global business community wanting to do business in India.

Such actions are frivolous in nature and shall be dealt with suitably by the judiciary, upon whom we have full faith. In addition to the above, OYO itself is entitled to initiate actions of defamation and damages for wrongful prosecution against such unscrupulous parties.”

OYO Hotels & Homes, as the world’s leading hospitality chain and all its businesses including Weddingz.in, India’s largest wedding company, have always maintained the highest level of integrity and transparency with its venue partners. Despite disruptions caused by the pandemic and significant drop in revenues, the company has stood by its venue partners to ensure business continuity, and subsequent recovery of the industry at large. OYO rolled out several initiatives for partner relief, by providing the necessary training to maintain the highest standards of hygiene & sanitization, empowering with the necessary technological tools, and extending financial & commercial support to all its valued partners. In fact, seeing the value OYO’s Weddingz.in brought to the table, 200+ venues joined the Weddingz.in the family during the lockdown.