The Delhi High Court on Monday directed Telegram and Meta-owned WhatsApp to delete the groups on the messaging platform and block accounts of the mobile numbers used to defraud people in the name of Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India & SEA) and Sequoia Capital.
The Court has also ordered both messaging platforms to file, in a sealed cover, details of IP addresses used to create such accounts to help the authorities in curbing the scams.
As per the court orders reviewed by Outlook Start-Up, scammers have defrauded the public to the extent of crores of rupees through financial scams by using the name of prominent venture capital firms - Peak XV and Sequoia Capital.
The order comes just a week after both Peak XV Partners and Sequoia Capital filed separate lawsuits before the High Court against the unknown accused, who impersonated top employees of the firm and duped the public by offering webinars around stock trading.
The perpetrators also passed off their WhatsApp and Telegram groups as those being run by the two VC firms by naming them with similar sounding names, such as “Peak XV 1026” and “Peak XV”.
The perpetrators also tried to pass off a duplicate website with a similar-looking logo, brand name and content by reproducing it from the official website.
The Court directed Gname.com Pte. Ltd., an international domain name registrat, to suspend impersonating websites namely - “www.leadlec.com” and “www.leadleacoin.com” and maintain status quo regarding the ownership of the said domain names.
It also ordered India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, respectively, to issue necessary notifications or directions to all telecom and internet service providers and domain name registrars in the country to permanently block or delete or remove access to all the telephone numbers, websites, domain names which were involved in the scams.
In September 2023, Sequoia Capital first received information about a WhatsApp group named John Analyst Group-303, managed by people who impersonated themselves as Sequoia Capital Investors Advisors and Sequoia Capital BTC Trading Team, purportedly a part of the Sequoia Capital Group.
Peak XV was then alerted to one scam in December 2023 - a 'Pak XV' application that blatantly attempted to pass off Peak XV's brand and trademarks.