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Update: Bombay High Court Rejects Travelocity’s Injunction Plea Against Cleartrip

Update: We’ve just received a statement from Cleartrip, quoting a Cleartrip spokesperson as saying that “The Bombay High Court today rejected the plea for an injunction petition filed by Travelocity against Cleartrip; which was part of the civil suit, seeking damages of US$ 37.5 million. We stay committed to the highest standards of transparency and integrity with respect to our customers and in everything we do.”

Yesterday: Travelocity India has issued a statement saying that it has filed a civil suit against Cleartrip in the Bombay High Court, claiming damages of $37.5 million (over Rs 165 crore) alleging data theft by top executives, reports Rediff.com. The suit has been filed last week by online travel agencies, Desiya and Travelguru both owned by Travelocity.

Responding to the statement, a Cleartrip spokesperson stated that the company feels that the law suit is vindictive and that the figures pertaining to the damages in it are groundless.

History

The Gurgaon Police had filed a charge sheet against the top management of Cleartrip for data theft and criminal conspiracy, alleging collusion, abetment, misappropriation, money laundering, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy, according to a report published by Livemint. The charge sheet is a follow-up of an FIR filed by Cleartrip’s competitor, Travelocity in January 2010, alleging criminal breach of trust, data theft, cheating, criminal misappropriation and criminal conspiracy, against Amit Taneja, former MD of Desiya and Stuart Crighton, CEO, Cleartrip.

Taneja had allegedly passed on the company’s intellectual property, trade secrets, sensitive data, proprietary technology source codes, their entire hotel business model and projections to Crighton. Besides Taneja, the FIR had also accused Sanjeet Singh, Regional Manager (North), Cleartrip, and Imran Ansari, Travel Consultant, allegedly close associates of Taneja, of criminal breach of trust, misrepresentation and cheating.

Travelocity’s Disclosure Flip Flop

Last month, a Public Relations executive representing Travelocity contacted us for a meeting in Mumbai, but didn’t disclose any details. We weren’t able to attend the meeting in Mumbai, but reports appeared in TechCircle and Mint on the chargesheet, with fresh details, including mentions of accusations of money laundering.

Cleartrip has told us that “The investigating agency had filed their report in the court 5 months ago. Till date we are yet to receive the complete charge sheet along with the findings of the investigating agency. As the matter is sub-judice, we are not able to comment further.” Cleartrip has refused to share a copy of the older chargesheet with us, which they say was filed in December.

After several attempts to contact Travelocity India MD Himanshu Singh, the companys Marketing Head Rohinton Commissariat contacted us and told us of two documents – a chargesheet in Hindi, and an English translation that they (Travelocity) had gotten prepared. We asked for copies of both, not wanting to rely on a translation from one party. He first said said someone from his PR Agency would share the documents; later (after several conversations) both the PR agency and Commissariat refused to share the documents, which had been shared with other publications.

It’s interesting to note that the statement is being issued by Travelocity a day before the date on which the case is expected to be heard – July 20th 2011 (today). Read the last line of Pluggd.in’s post on this issue. Take your own call.

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