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WhiteHat Jr gets respite from Court against Pradeep Poonia; files defamation suit against Aniruddha Malpani

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The Delhi High Court has given a limited ad-interim injunction to WhiteHat Jr and its CEO Karan Bajaj against Pradeep Poonia, a staunch critic of the edtech company who alleged malpractices including misleading advertisements by the Byju’s owned coding platform via his social media posts. 

The court emphasised that both parties are full of facts, but there are some facts which require an injunction. “Poonia is restrained from these,” the court said. The injunction bars Poonia from hacking or unauthorizedly accessing the company’s internal communication on the communication platform Slack and displaying communication and chats between WhiteHat and its employees on his YouTube channel.

Poonia has also been restrained from using the name WhiteHat Sr for his YouTube channel.

The court also asked for the specific URL which has to be taken down. It also restrained Poonia from commenting on the number or quality of teachers of WhiteHatJr and from commenting on their educational or professional background.

Bajaj and WhiteHat Jr had filed a defamation suit against Poonia for Rs 20 crore. They also requested an injunction against Poonia’s attack on them on social media and other online platforms. In the suit, Bajaj and his company alleged that Poonia has infringed their trademark, copyright along with the invasion of privacy.

Entrackr’s detailed questionnaire to WhiteHat Jr and Poonia on Sunday remained unanswered until the publication of this story. We will update the story in case they respond.

Meanwhile, WhiteHat Jr also has sued its other critic, doctor and angel investor Anirudh Malpani, on the grounds of “incessant posting of false and defamatory tweets which are causing severe damage to WhitHat Jr’s reputation and business through waging a systematic attack on WhiteHat Jr over social media.” 

Since September, Poonia has put many posts on social media platforms against WhiteHat Jr’s misleading advertisements. Bajaj and his company alleged in the suit that disgruntled by the takedowns of his posts by online platforms, Poonia for launching systematic and highly defamatory attacks against them.

Poonia is a software engineer and also runs a YouTube channel by the name of WhiteHat Sr. The channel claims to offer curriculum akin to WhiteHat Jr for free.

According to the suit, Poonia tutored a minor and signed her up for various trial classes with WhiteHat Jr under fraudulent identities with the sole aim of harassing the teachers conducting those classes and proceeded to record the videos of those classes without the consent or knowledge of the teacher or WhiteHat Jr and then put them up in the public domain.

In its suit, the company also blamed Poonia for accusing WhiteHat Jr of ‘child abuse’ and equating the Plaintiffs’ acts of teaching children coding with ‘child sexual abuse’. However, the court said it didn’t see any angel of sexual abuse.

The court scheduled the next hearing on January 6.

WhiteHat Jr has been facing wrath from parents, activists and media for misleading advertisements. The company used the names of Elon Musk, Tesla, Sundar Pichai and Google among others for advertising its courses. The Advertising Council of India also frowned upon some of its advertisements and asked them to take down. 

Early this year, Bajaj and his firm had sold their stake to Byju’s in an all-cash deal worth $300 million. The company has also been facing some backlash over getting doctor and angel investor Anirudh Malpani’s LinkedIn account suspended. Malpani has been voicing incessantly against Byju’s alleged malpractices. LinkedIn has also suspended Poonia’s profile. 

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