The Bengaluru police have booked OYO Hotel and Homes’ CEO, Ritesh Agarwal and two of his OYO representatives, Anand Ready and Prathik Singh following a complaint by a businessman. Charges include cheating and criminal breach of trust. In 2017, Agarwal and his associates entered an agreement with Natarajan V R S, who runs the Rajguru Shelter Hotels in the BEML Layout area in Whitefield. The ex-serviceman, Natarajan states that Agarwal and his associates duped him into a business deal which they never fulfilled. He states that in June 2017, OYO Hotel and Homes agreed to give his business 20% of their reservations and charge 20% commission. Natarajan was meant to keep the remaining 80% he made from these hotel reservations. However, Agarwal and his company went back on their agreement and took 80% commission from him, effectively cheating him of more than 1 crore rupees.
The police have booked Agarwal, and his associates under the Indian Penal Code sections 34, 406 and 420 for common intent, criminal breach of trust and cheating respectively. Natarajan has also stated in his FIR against them that other hotels in the area of Whitefield have had similar problems with OYO. However, when the spokesperson of OYO Hotels and Homes was asked to comment on the crime, he denied any criminal intent or wrongdoing by the company and its CEO. Furthermore, OYO has gone on to state that this FIR is baseless, being created solely on false allegations and exaggeration of business issues. However, there have been reports coming from as early as July 2019, which showed multiple hotels in the Whitefield area having problems with OYO’s business models.
While other hotel owners have not made a formal police report like Natarajan, there has been a general consensus in the region that OYO has been wrongfully cheating hoteliers. Regarding the criminal case, Chief Inspector of the Whitehall Police, Narendra Kumar has refused any official statements, stating only that the police takes these matters seriously and has started investigation in the matter. However, if Natarajan’s statement, that many hotel owners around Whitefield has also been cheated by OYO, then the matter might escalate to a larger police case.