Ankiti Bose, co-founder of the Singapore-based fashion technology company Zilingo, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mahesh Murthy, co-founder of Seedfund and a prominent angel investor. According to sources, the legal action was triggered by an article written by Mr. Murthy in the March 1 issue of Outlook Business magazine. In the article, Mr. Murthy accused Ms. Bose of illegally taking money from a startup.
While Mr. Murthy did not name Ms. Bose in the article, he offered various descriptive pointers referring to a “lady” who ran a popular fashion portal and took Sequoia’s money. He also claimed that she got her firm to pay her lawyer around INR 70 crore as fees, and it is rumored that she got a lot of that amount directly back to herself as her cut.
Ms. Bose was reportedly suspended by Zilingo in April 2022 following claims of improper behavior made by unnamed insiders in the organization. However, Ms. Bose maintains that the $100 million in damages she is seeking is a result of Mr. Murthy’s allegations, which she claims are baseless.
In response, Ms. Bose stated that there was no evidence presented to Mr. Murthy, nor was any report presented to him. She claimed that the accusations were based on a lot of media statements and unnamed sources saying things, but nobody else was saying anything directly on record.
Ms. Bose stated that the $100 million was computed by taking into account her balance of equity in Zilingo and the losses that statements like this can affect future endeavors. She asserts that the allegations have damaged her reputation and caused her to suffer significant emotional distress.
The lawsuit was filed on April 20 and is currently in the pre-admission stage. The case highlights the importance of responsible journalism and the potential consequences of making unsubstantiated allegations. The outcome of the case will likely have implications for the tech industry and investors in the region.