"World Startup Convention" - a scam of millions of money has come to light after Gautam Budh Nagar police booked the event organizers following multiple complaints from the participants.
As per the information received, more than 2,000 startups have been allegedly scammed of over 100 crores of wealth in the name of the "world's biggest startup funding festival." The event, which was expected to bring about 9000+ angel investors, didn't witness a single investor and saw participants from all across the country demanding justice for the time, money, and energy they invested.
Agitations And Police Action
The three-day event called the 'World Startup Convention,' which was held at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, is making headlines for the content that they published and the scam worth millions which followed. Entrepreneurs, solo founders, students, and a whole lot of aspirants booked tickets and traveled all the way from various cities, from Chennai to Darjeeling, to attend the event in Noida. It was scheduled to take place between 14 to January 16 but was later on postponed to March 24 to 26.
The tickets, which cost the participants ₹6,990 to ₹25,000, sold off like peanuts due to weighty promises of bringing together thousands of potential investors and dignitaries. Posters of the event claimed that the list of invitees included Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Gautam Adani, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, and Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan. The organisers had also posted images with the Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to promote the event.
The organizers , Luke Talwar and Arjun Choudhary, allegedly gave false information about the investors to be present at the event. Although in contrast to this, there were barely four to five investors present, and the details soon unfurled. An entrepreneur who had traveled all the way from Kolkata told media houses that the Union minister Nitin Gadkari was supposed to speak at the event via video conference as per the event schedule, but this was cancelled as well. By around 2 pm, an angry crowd of over 500 people started protesting against the organisers and demanded that their ticket money be refunded.
Police soon reached the venue to pacify the protesters, and as per the latest reports, the organisers have been booked by the Gautam Budh Nagar police. Ashok Kumar, the additional deputy commissioner of police Greater Noida, stated that the organisers told the police that the investors would come over in the next two days of the event. However, with nothing of the sort taking place, the agitation among the protestors rose and the police had to take action.
'Justice For Startups'
At least 16 participants had lodged complaints at the Knowledge Park police station against the organisers. Delhi-based lawyer Raghumanyu Taneja, who had bought a ticket worth ₹8,000 to raise funds for his startup, was the one who had submitted the complaints. In a video submitted by the advocate to The Logical Indian, he can be seen standing in front of the police station with the participants and calling out the World Startup Convention, "nothing short of a scam." He stated that the organisers used images of prominent people like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Nitin Gadkari to mislead the victims and promote their event.
Based on their complaints, a First Investigation Report (FIR) was registered against the organisers under Section 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Currently, police teams are investigating the participant's claims and the organisers are also being questioned. Furthermore, police personnel has also been deployed at the venue.
The participants also mobilised action against the organisers or social media platforms with the hashtags "#JusticeforStartups" and "#WSCScam." Among the attendees, one tweeted that the event saw no investors, no format, no explanations, no chief guests, and the show was allegedly an absolute fraud. After the incident came to light, many brands and companies came ahead to clarify that they were not associated with the convention in any form.
The organisers had allegedly used the logo of established brands to promote their event. After the details surfaced, the companies have now come forward to convey that their brand logo is being used without their knowledge or approval.
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