(Updated) Zilingo's Ankiti Bose files criminal complaint against two co-founders: Report

(Updated) Zilingo's Ankiti Bose files criminal complaint against two co-founders: Report

Zilingo co-founder and CEO, Ankiti Bose. Photo: Zilingo

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Dhruv Kapoor and Aadi Vaidya’s official statements.

Ankiti Bose, the former CEO of Singapore-based fashion marketplace Zilingo, has filed a criminal complaint against her two fellow co-founders, Dhruv Kapoor and Aadi Vaidya, the Times of India reported.

Bose was reported to have pressed charges of cheating, intimidation, conspiracy and harassment. She further alleged that Kapoor and Vaidya misled her and Zilingo’s investors in a move that involved forcing her to relinquish her shares and business. These actions took place between 2020 and 2022, Bose claimed.

“As the chief operating officer, Aadi Vaidya engaged in misconduct by falsely attributing loss-making deals to me and extending trade credit to various parties in my name. He then used those deals to threaten me by falsely implicating me to investors, even though all operational dealings were conducted by him in my previous company. I have been threatened, deceived, and had errors attributed to me in order for Vaidya to fraudulently acquire my shares, which are valued at multiple crores,” Bose said in her complaint, reviewed by Times of India.

Bose added that this made it “extremely difficult” to collaborate and make informed decisions. She further alleged that both Kapoor and Vaidya deliberately chose not to turn up for the company’s meetings with Kroll, which was hired to conduct a forensic audit into Zilingo by its investors at the time.

Bose is reported to be represented by law firm Singhania & Co.

Kapoor and Vaidya have both rejected the allegations made by Bose on their misdemeanour.

“Ankiti Bose’s allegations against me are completely baseless, untrue, and malicious. A thorough investigation has already proven her wrongdoing based on which she was terminated from the company. This appears to be nothing but retaliatory behavior. Throughout my tenure at Zilingo, I upheld my integrity by aiding the board’s inquiry into the CEO’s misconduct while fostering professional relationships and striving to build ethical products,” wrote Dhruv Kapoor in a statement to DealStreetAsia.

“The allegations, as per media reports, made against me by Ankiti Bose are completely baseless and untrue. This seems like nothing but a clear afterthought done with a malicious intention to harm my reputation and harass me,” added Aadi Vaidya in the same email statement.

DealStreetAsia has reached out to Bose for comment.

Zilingo’s downfall began with the suspension of its co-founder and CEO Ankiti Bose in March 2022 over alleged financial irregularities. One of the key issues of contention was the way the firm recognised revenue on its books, including seller discounts and incentives.

The matter soon devolved into an ugly slugfest, with the CEO and the company’s board accusing each other of impropriety. Bose was fired by the company two months later.

As the saga unfolded, Zilingo’s creditors lined up to recall loans, staff left in hordes, and questions were raised over the corporate governance norms implemented by marquee investors that had backed the company.

Once hailed as a rising star from Southeast Asia, the company had raised over $310 million in capital from investors such as Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India), Temasek Holdings, and Burda Principal Investments.

Peak XV Partners, in particular, was under the spotlight with a series of corporate governance issues related to its portfolio firms including BharatPe, Trell, and GoMechanic which made headlines for inflating its revenues. Meanwhile, in 2022, another investee firm Zetwerk reportedly faced Indian tax department raids on alleged tax evasion.

Edited by: Padma Priya

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