Indian Startup WhiteHat Jr Surrounds Itself In Controversy Again

Tanusha Verma Tanusha Verma
Nov 25, 2020 3 min read
Indian Startup WhiteHat Jr Surrounds Itself In Controversy Again

The Delhi High court has granted interim relief in the form of an injunction to WhiteHat Jr founder Karan Bajaj in a defamation case involving his vocal critic Pradeep Poonia.

Karan Bajaj, founder of Byju's owned coding platform WhiteHat Jr had filed a defamation case against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who has publicly criticized the startup for the controversial marketing tactics, the quality of the courses on the platform, and aggressive takedowns of such feedback.

According to reports, the court order will restrain Poonia, a software engineer, from accessing the company's curriculum and internal communication channels. The court order remains valid until the next hearing which is scheduled to be held on January 6, 2021. Poonia will also be restrained from telecasting or transmitting information from company sources in public.

WhiteHat Jr Logo
WhiteHat Jr Logo

The court further restrained Poonia from commenting on the quality of the personnel who teach coding to school students through WhiteHat Jr- the educational technology startup-platform and to take down a few tweets that had referred to the startup as a “pyramid scheme”.

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During the hearing, Poonia said that he had not downloaded any curriculum from Whitehat Jr or hacked into its system.

Poonia had been accused of infringing trademarks and copyright of properties owned by WhiteHat Jr Karan Bajaj, defaming and spreading misleading information about the startup and its founder, and accessing the company’s private communications app.

Meanwhile, WhiteHat Jr has filed another defamation lawsuit against another critic, angel investor Aniruddha Malpani, seeking damages worth $1.9 million.

The education startup has been making headlines after few critics from within the organisation claimed that the company was peddling baseless claims regarding children, after learning to code, earned more than 20 crores, and were part of TEDx talks.

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Last month, advertising regulatory body ASCI had asked WhiteHat Jr to withdraw five of its ads which claimed that knowledge of coding enabled children as young as six and seven to develop apps that will have investors lining up.

Critics of WhiteHat Jr platform, like Poonia and Malpani, have said that such campaigns are made to sell tall dreams to parents and that they eventually affect the mental health and psychology of children.

It is to be noted that in August, ed-tech leader Byju’s had acquired WhiteHat Jr for a whopping $300 million all-cash deal.

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