A cheating case has been registered against OYO Hotels & Homes Founder Ritesh Agarwal and six others based on a complaint by a hotelier who has alleged that the firm did not pay rent for rooms for the past five months, police said on Monday.
In his complaint, Betz Fernandez, who owns Roxel Inn at Domlur in Bengaluru, stated that OYO had booked rooms and had agreed to pay Rs 7 lakh per month.
However, since May, OYO did not pay him any rent thereby duping him to the tune of Rs 35 lakh, he alleged.
Besides Ritesh Agarwal, police have booked Rohit Srivastava, head of OYO South, heads of business development Madhvendra Kumar and Gourab De, OYO Finance Officers Prateek Agarwal, Manjeet Singh and Mrimony Chakraborty.
They have been asked to appear before the investigating officer on Thursday, police said.
The OYO Hotels & Homes said in a statement they will file a counter complaint against the Bengaluru hotel owner for "using improper legal means to sensationalise a civil dispute and get attention".
"Our lawyers are looking into the matter and will be taking strong legal action as these claims are incorrect and defamatory in nature," OYO said. Appropriate criminal proceedings will be initiated against the Bengaluru owner, the company said.
"We at all times follow the laws of the land and operate keeping in mind the best interests of our asset owners, customers and employees," it stated.
"On studying a similar matter where an FIR was wrongfully filed in September, the Karnataka High Court stayed the adverse actions via an injunction in Bengaluru. We, therefore, have strong reasons to repose our faith in the justice system."
At present, OYO claims to be having over 18,000 hotels with over 270,000 rooms across 500+ cities in India. On an average, over 75 percent of hotel owners associated with OYO have seen an increase of about over 3X in occupancy, a 2.5X jump in RevPar, and a significant jump in profit, the company said in a statement.
In April 2019, OYO announced the launch of the OYO Partner Engagement Network (OPEN) for its 18,000+ hotel owner community in India to help them reach their business goals.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)
(Edited by Megha Reddy)