8 Sep 2023 9:58 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell to investigate “unscrupulous individuals” involved in “large scale operation” of collecting money under the name of fashion and lifestyle brand AJIO, by way of scratch coupons and prize money.“….the Court is convinced that this appears to be a large-scale operation carried out by unscrupulous individuals with...
The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell to investigate “unscrupulous individuals” involved in “large scale operation” of collecting money under the name of fashion and lifestyle brand AJIO, by way of scratch coupons and prize money.
“….the Court is convinced that this appears to be a large-scale operation carried out by unscrupulous individuals with the intention of collecting money under the name of ‘AJIO’ and ‘AJIO Online Shopping Private Limited’. The letters and the scratch cards, etc., are so convincing that any customer or recipient would be unable to distinguish between the Plaintiffs' (Ajio’s) communications and those of the said entity or person,” Justice Prathiba M Singh said.
The court directed the Cyber cell to take action in accordance with law on an urgent basis and sought a status report.
Justice Singh also said that the Delhi Police will be free to move an application, in case any further directions are required to be passed in order to safeguard the interest of general public.
The court was hearing a suit filed by Reliance Industries, which runs an e-commerce platform www.ajio.com, seeking protection of its mark “AJIO” as well as the logo. The suit was filed against six individuals and entities alleging that they had fraudulently sent various communications under the name and style “AJIO Online Shopping Pvt. Ltd.” on a Kolkata based address and were collecting money from innocent customers by way of scams and schemes.
It was AJIO’s case that the perpetrators made the customers deposit sums in the range of Rs.5,000 claiming that they would be eligible to encash the scratch card after the said deposit. It was also alleged that the scammers were using various mobile numbers and bank accounts to receive the deposits.
Justice Singh perused e various scratch cards and said that the sums mentioned were to the tune of Rs.7,50,000 and upto Rs. 10,00,000.
“The manner in which the Defendants are promoting and hearing customers to deposit the money is by specifically calling upon the recipients not to use the Plaintiffs’ customer care number but to only use the numbers which are provided by them,” the court noted.
Furthermore, it observed that owing to the familiarity and reputation of AJIO’s name and brand, whenever any customer receives letters accompanied with scratch cards, it is quite natural for such customer to believe the same to be true.
“Thus, the request for deposit of some initial fees to be eligible to avail of the scratch card offer is quite a deceptive request, which may be acceded to. The large number of letters that appear to have been received shows that there are several persons and may be even entities who are working in close collaboration with each other to illegally make monetary gains. Owing to the experience in similar cases, it is also possible that bank accounts have been opened without giving the true name of the persons opening the same,” the court said.
Passing an ad interim injunction order, Justice Singh restrained the defendants from using the mark “AJIO” or sending any communications to any customers or public for further collecting monies into any of the bank accounts, including any fresh bank accounts.
The court also directed the banks to immediately freeze the bank accounts in question and file a complete statement of account from inception till date, including KYC details and any other information available with them.
The court also directed the telecom service providers to immediately block all the mobile numbers and to place on record entire documentation available with them regarding identity of the individuals who had registered the said mobile numbers.
The matter will now be heard on September 25.
Case Title: RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LIMITED & ANR. v. AJIO ONLINE SHOPPING PVT LTD AND ORS.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 811
Click Here To Read Order