NEW DELHI: India's biggest tech titans have written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh against the manner in which the owner of Chennai-based start-up Stayzilla has been arrested and treated. 'What Yogi and his family are going through now make India look like the worst place, a nightmarish choice to become an entrepreneur,' says the letter, signed by 73 tech bosses. 'If ever there's a right to be an entrepreneur, that's clearly been violated. Period. The question is not how this will affect entrepreneurship today, but how young Indians looking to become entrepreneurs in the future will give up even before starting up,' declares the note.
No hearing on bail has taken place yet, a lapse in basic process, say the tech stars who have written to the government.Stayzilla was founded in 2005 to function like AirBnB - an online marketplace for home-stay. It raised 34 million dollars from private investors across four funding rounds.Last month, Stayzilla said it had run out of funds and was shutting down.Yogi Vasupal was walking in Chennai when he was approached by top cops who took him in for questioning. His friends and family say he was arrested right after, and was not allowed to phone them.Jigsaw has accused Stayzilla of embezzling funds.
Yogi Vasupal's wife, after his arrest, published a blog by him in which he alleged harassment by the advertising agency and said it was using political influence to target him. Mr Vasupal has said in the blog that he received threats and his parents have said they were sent a voodoo doll with Yogi's picture and a black nail in its forehead.Signatories to the open letter sent yesterday to the Home Minister include Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm and Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola Cabs.They say the case has tarnished India's reputation in Silicon Valley and dissuades start-up enterprise.