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Housing saga: The plot thickens as Times Group sends legal notice citing defamation

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Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, the holding company of Times Group has sent a legal notice to real estate portal Housing.com owner, Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd., and board for alleged defamation, reports TechCircle. The notice names Housing CEO Rahul Yadav and its directors, asking them to issue an unconditional apology and is seeking $16 million in damages.

Earlier this week on the 16th, Yadav, in an internal mail, claimed that Times Internet owned online real estate portal Magicbricks.com is currently trying to “malign Housing’s position in India” while it closes a round of funding in the US. This was following a nasty email to Shailendra Singh, in which Yadav was upset that Sequoia Capital was looking to poach employees at Housing.com.

The original email written by Rahul Yadav:

Subject: Investors considering to remove Housing.com co-founder Rahul Yadav as CEO: Economic Times

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/real-estate/news/investors-considering-to-remove-housing-com-co-founder-rahul-yadav-as-ceo-sources/articleshow/46534663.cms

  1.     Investors called me and said Times is behind you, be ready for such story
  2.     MagicBricks (Our competitor and a Times Group Company) is trying to close funding round in US while malign Housing’s position in India. Housing is being loved in US.
  3.     And they linked me with that unfortunate car accident. They have no shame!
  4.     After paying for past and upcoming marketing blasts’ advances as well, We still have 75Mn+ in our bank.

Ola cabs raised $200Mn. We raised $90Mn. Almost at the same time. Their cash burn is 125Cr per month and ours <20Cr that too with recent ramp up. Where is the high cash burn?

  1.     Overseas expansion: We WISH to. We DREAM to. How come dreaming is leading to cash burn in international?

Please suggest what to do with this Times Group : )

Have a good day.

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Cheers,Rahul

The BCCL legal notice names Locon Solutions, the firm which runs the property listings portal Housing.com, and its board members, including SoftBank Corp’s vice chairman Nikesh Arora, Helion Venture Partners’ senior managing director Ashish Gupta and Nexus Venture Partners’ co-founder Suvir Sujan, along with CEO Rahul Yadav and COO Advitiya Sharma. The notice also names Karthee Madasamy, MD of Qualcomm Ventures, an early stage investor in Housing.com.

According to the notice the email and the reference linking to MagicBricks fundraising was ‘highly libelous, scandalous, false, defamatory, malicious and irresponsible’ and that the ‘defamatory email is per se perverse and defamatory to our goodwill and reputation.’

In India, a defamation case can be filed under either criminal law or civil law or Cyber Crime Law, together or in sequence. The punishment for Defamation is a simple imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or with both. Note that most defamation cases tend to be settled outside court instead of years of litigation.

Earlier in December 2014, Housing had raised $90 million from Softbank Group, with participation from Falcon Edge and other unnamed investors.The company plans  to map over 40 million houses across 300 cities in India. According to an ET report, Housing reported losses of Rs 48.8 crore on revenue of Rs 1.9 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2014, according to filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the company has a monthly cash burn rate of Rs 50-63 crore.

Also readUpdated: Investors considering removing Housing.com Rahul Yadav as CEO: report

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