A Delhi court has ordered that an FIR should be launched against the troubled ecommerce and online grocery portals AskMe and AskMeBazaar for cheating and fraud, reports Economic Times. This was against a complaint the court received from Limo Trading, based on initial reports filed by the Delhi Police. The court also directed the police to conduct a field and criminal investigation on the company.
MediaNama was unable to contact Limo Trading or ascertain the nature of its allegations against AskMe. AskMe’s former MD Sanjiv Gupta was unreachable at the time of publishing (phone switched off), while his lawyer Vipul Ghanda said that he was unaware of the FIR, or the case against AskMe. Attempts to contact the company’s public relations company were also unsuccessful.
According to the report, Limo Trading alleged that AskMe provided it heavy discounts but committed fraud by never passing on the profit it got from the sale of its items. Limo also said that AskMe would charge it a commission on each transaction regardless of whether the transaction was successful. The trading company also alleged that the money AskMe got from sales was not transferred to it.
AskMe’s troubled history
AskMe, owned by Getit Infoservices, suspended its operations on 17th of August and employees have not been paid their July and August 2016 salaries so far. In the same month, Astro, the majority shareholder in the company, asked for a forensic audit of Getit citing that there was little prospect to turnaround the company and declared it insolvent after investing close to $300 million in it. AskMe’s shutdown was followed by a limbo between AskMe and Astro after AskMe proposed to buyout its stake from Astro for a supposed $5 million.
Last month, the Company Law Tribunal (CLBT) dismissed an application by AskMe employees looking to intervene in a case filed by Gupta against the company. The case was filed on 30th August, alleging that additional directors Sandeep Vats and Prakash Mishra’s appointments (on the Getit Infoservices board) on 16 June 2016 be deemed illegal and their interference in day to day functioning of the company be banned.
At the time, Getit sought permission to hold a board meeting saying that the company was facing “huge and crippling financial crises and has not been able to pay third parties, creditors, vendors and employees,” adding that it had been compelled to cease operations due to lack of funds. Following this, both the companies got the CLBT’s permission to hold a board meeting to discuss the affairs of the company. The meeting was scheduled for 30th of September but could not take place due to unavailability of AskMe and Astro directors at the time.