Popular local search engine Justdial is under the police scanner. The Dindoshi police have registered a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust against its managing director and two other employees, based on a complaint by a water purifier company in Malad. As per the FIR, in July 2011, Acube Infotech, with its office at Karishma Plaza in Malad (East), had paid Rs 1.95 lakh to Justdial for placing web banners on the latter’s official portal.
Despite repeated reminders and legal notices, when the company failed to accommodate the ad on the website, Sujata Roy, manager (administration) of Acube Infotech, registered an FIR with Dindoshi police station. “The amount was paid in the month of July last year. Since then we have been constantly reminding them but they have not bothered to revert. Several termination letters to cancel the contract were also sent to concerned officials,” claimed Ashish Roy, head of marketing department at Acube Infotech.
According to Roy, he had sent at least three legal notices to Justdial, demanding immediate repayment. When the search engine ignored the court notices too, Roy approached the local police station in December last year.
Finally, some action
Roy added, “It took the Dindoshi police four long months to register an FIR. They (Dindoshi police) initially ignored the complaint and gave excuses that they need to take a public prosecutor’s opinion in the case.” Finally on March 30, Dindoshi police booked all the three named representatives of Justdial under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust, and 34 (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Sub inspector Vijay Madaye from Dindoshi police station, who is investigating the case, said, “It is not mandatory that if an FIR is registered we should arrest the accused. We have been asking for certain documents from the complainant, which have not been submitted yet. Once all the evidence is gathered, only then can we proceed with the arrests and other formalities.”
The other side
Head of the finance department K Srinivas, who is also in-charge of the legal department at Justdial, said, “All the advertisements of Acube Infotech were posted on our website. After a few days, this man (Roy) walked into our office with a local politician claiming that he has not received any response for the banners since the process was delayed. He then made an abrupt demand of Rs 30 lakh from us in the form of compensation.” Roy denied that the ads were ever posted on the Justdial portal and also denied having accompanied a local politician to their office. Srinivasan added, “When we refused to meet his demands, he threatened us claiming that he would go public and defame us. Despite it being a civil matter, he had compelled the cops to register an FIR in the matter.”