WhiteHat Jr vs Aniruddha Malpani and Pradeep Poonia

Laxitha Mundhra
New Update
WhiteHat Jr files lawsuits against two people

WhiteHat Jr has never been off-controversy. Whether it was Forbes writing on it for the need of teaching kids coding or pulling down ads, or the child who landed a job in Google; or even how ex-employees of WHJ had to face the wrath of unsatisfied (scammed) consumers. Turns out, this one is concerning all the above cases. Pradeep Poonia, widely popular for creating the controversy on "Wolf Gupta" wanting to know who the star child in WhiteHat Jr ads was. He also uses the title "WhiteHatSnr" on his social media sites. This time, the kids-coding platform has filed a defamation suit against the software engineer. And he is not alone. WhiteHatJr also filed a 14-Cr defamation suit against Aniruddha Malpani.


The first case was filed in the personal capacity of CEO Karan Bajaj. In the case against Poonia — in which Bajaj is seeking $2.7 million in damages — Poonia is accused of infringing trademarks and copyright of properties owned by WhiteHat Jr; defaming and spreading misleading information about the startup and its founder, and accessing the company’s private communications app. In the second case, WHJ (WhiteHat Jr) is the plaintiff seeking 14 Cr in defamatory damages from Angel investor Aniruddha Malpani.

What does the suit state?

The suit states that Pradeep Poonia has violated the Trade Marks Act of 199, The Copyright Act of 1957 and the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908. The case has been filed for Infringement of Registered and Unregistered Trademarks. Further, Karan Bajaj, CEO of WhiteHat Jr claims that Poonia hacked into the systems of the coding platform and made public the passwords of teachers, including women. The case also alleges that Poonia has the password of Bajaj's personal account which he uses for mal-practices.


The notice states that Poonia started the defamation threads in early September by making comments that WhiteHat Jr’s murdered an imaginary child. Wolf Gupta, a teen who landed a job in Google was the initial centrepiece of Poonia's statements. “The Defendant’s posts quickly turned sinister after the withdrawal of the advertisements, with the defendant claiming that Plaintiff No. 1 had “murdered” Wolf Gupta,” the notice read.

What is Poonia's take?

Poonia states that WhiteHat Jr (and Byju's) indulge in mis-selling and Edu-scams. Thus, WhiteHatSnr "aims" to "save" people from the scam. In the court today, Rohtagi, the personal advocate for Bajaj says, "We have filed the registration details (for WhiteHat Jr). We have no problems, no playing foul of the law, and no litigation. The defendant, Poonia, we know nothing about, we don't know his details, his address and neither is he or his children our consumer. He is a kind of vigilante. He is constantly scandalizing, trolling our content, teachers on Twitter."


The suit alleges that Poonia is allowed to comment, but the content he proposes are downright defamatory, which the Delhi HC agreed to. Meanwhile, Poonia's lawyer Sukumar has pointed out several instances where WhiteHat Jr has been a total sham. In fact, she proposed that the defendant had screenshots and proofs to his claim. One instance shows Sukumar referring to a LinkedIn post wherein a child's parent has written a complaint about a teacher's conduct to their child. The parent wrote to the founder who offered no apology but 4 free classes. This is a serious case of "mishandling grievances".

Today, DHC has also asked Poonia to take down specific URLs from his YouTube handle Pradeep Poonia 3.0, according to Live Law.

Another defamation case from WhiteHat Jr on Angel Investor Aniruddha Malpani


In its second lawsuit, the startup alleges that Aniruddha Malpani has been critical of WhiteHat Jr because he is an investor in rival platforms Bibox Labs, Multibhashi and ConceptOwl. They infact don’t appear to be rivals, even though they are into kids learning segment. With Malpani, WhiteHat Jr seeks damages of about $1.9 million.

In the suit against Malpani, WhiteHat Jr cited several tweets by the investor in October and November. Starting September 29, WHJ has listed all the "defamatory" articles/tweets from Malpani. In one instance, where Malpani used the term "putting lipstick on a pig", WHJ in the lawsuits states, "The Defendant has used a demeaning insult 'pig' to refer to a senior official in the Plaintiff company, which is a common metaphor for a greedy and unethical person, which is a slanderous remark with no explanation or basis.

To actually resonate, Malpani referred to WHJ as the pig, and not the senior official.

A spin doctor is someone excellent in handling public relations. Thus, the tweet calls out that Mr Sameer Bajaj as the spin doctor, someone who will further the reputation of the startup that Mr Malpani finds scam. WHJ claims that Malpani has made several “derogatory imputations” about WhiteHat Jr in his tweets. These tweets "tarnish the company’s trademarks, and amount to defamation and unfair competition."

One of the derogatory remarks that WHJ pointed out was of September 29. Malpani shared Poonia’s LBRY account video (now unavailable) with the caption “Deconstructing the #WhiteHatJr strategy for cheating parents” on his Twitter handle. In a separate tweet, Malpani called out WHJ as an Edu-racket. That, the WhiteHat Jr calls out as an attack on Byju's. Since Malpani is an investor in Concept Owl, a direct competitor of Byju's; WHJ states that the tweet invites "legal repercussions".

The lawsuit even said that Malpani had "a bone to pick" with other venture capitalists. But unlike Poonia, Malpani's tweets are all guesswork and whataboutery. So, the result of who has a bone to pick with whom will only come out when the case goes to court. Till then, all we can deduce is that WhiteHat takes very little criticism.

WhiteHat Jr & Anr is represented by Fidus Law Chambers; Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi represents Bajaj, while Advocate Swathi Sukumar is representing Poonia.

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