Spat at ShopClues spills from bedroom to boardroom

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2018

Eye of storm Co-founders of ShopClues Radhika Aggarwal & Sanjay Sethi. Photo. - GRN Somashekar

Eye of storm Co-founders of ShopClues Radhika Aggarwal & Sanjay Sethi. Photo. - GRN Somashekar

Largest shareholder Sandeep Aggarwal, accusing his wife and co-founder of conspiring to oust him, wants his voting rights back

The spat between Sandeep Aggarwal, the founder of ecommerce marketplace ShopClues, and his wife is now spilling over from the bedroom to the boardroom.

While a public post by Aggarwal alleged that his wife had an extra-marital affair with a co-founder of the company, it now appears that the real fight is over the founder’s voting rights.

Aggarwal, the single-largest shareholder in the company, had written off his voting rights in 2013 when he was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for insider trading during his stint as an analyst at Collins Stewart in the US.

But now he wants the rights back, blaming his wife Radhika Ghai Aggarwal and co-founder Sanjay Sethi of hatching a conspiracy to oust him.

Case filed

Aggarwal told BusinessLine over phone from Hong Kong that he has already hired a lawyer and filed a case of fraud and forgery against Sethi and Ghai at the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) and another related to criminal intimidation.

While Ghai did not comment on the development, ShopClues said: “It is very disappointing to see an ex-founder, who disassociated from the company for his criminal wrongdoings, is now engaged in a personal vendetta.”

The spokesperson added that Aggarwal and the company had got into an agreement that in an event Aggarwal pleaded guilty or is otherwise convicted or found guilty for the alleged crimes, he will cease to be a consultant, will have no operating role in the company and will relinquish the right to be a board director or have any active ability to elect or remove any non-CEO board directors.

Aggarwal said that Sethi and Ghai were hired as employees and there were no multiple founders.

But will Aggarwal be able to take back his voting rights? BusinessLine spoke to several lawyers, who are of the view that he faces a stiff task in proving the allegations against his wife and Sethi. They believe that the whole saga might end up in an out-of-the-court settlement.

Saranya Ranga, partner at Advaya Legal, a law firm that deals with the start-up ecosystem and e-commerce companies, said, “It will be really difficult for him (Aggarwal) to prove in the court of law that there was any fraud and forgery, since he had signed the documents (that stated changes in the voting rights). It will be difficult to prove if it was done wilfully or under duress.

“From what has been learnt from various reports and his statements, there seems to be no legal remedy for it. At the end of the day, the present board will decide whom to back and it seems like they are already supporting the wife.”

Published on March 15, 2017

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