Delhi High Court Takes Action Against Widespread Fraud Utilizing Reliance Industries’ AJIO Trademark

LI Network

Published on: 12 September 2023 15:06 IST

The Delhi High Court has recently directed the Delhi Police to launch an urgent investigation into fraudulent activities associated with the unlawful use of the AJIO trademark, owned by Reliance Industries [Reliance Industries Limited & Anr v. Ajio Online Shopping Pvt Ltd and Ors].

Justice Prathiba M Singh ordered the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police to conduct a swift inquiry into the alleged scam and provide a comprehensive report.

The court noted, “The advent of digital technology has resulted in the creation of various conveniences for customers but has also made it convenient for individuals engaged in illegal activities.

The present case demonstrates how the cloak of digital platforms is being used to deceive innocent customers by misusing an established brand name.”

The court issued this directive while considering a plea filed by Reliance Industries Limited, which asserted that numerous individuals were sending various communications under the name ‘Ajio Online Shopping Pvt Ltd,’ enticing consumers with claims of winning prize money.

Perpetrators of this scam informed people that they had won scratch cards worth up to ₹10 lakh and could claim the prize money after depositing ₹5,000. The scammers utilized various mobile numbers and bank accounts to collect these deposits, as reported to the Bench.

Reliance sought protection for its trademark and requested a police investigation to uncover the identities of those involved in the fraudulent scheme.

Justice Singh observed that there appears to be a large-scale operation conducted by unscrupulous individuals to collect money under the names ‘AJIO’ and ‘AJIO Online Shopping Private Limited.’

The court noted that the letters and scratch cards used in the scheme were so convincing that it would be challenging for any recipient to distinguish between communications from AJIO and those from the alleged scammers.

Due to the familiarity and reputation of the AJIO name and brand, whenever any customer receives such letters accompanied with scratch cards purportedly issued by the Plaintiffs, it is quite natural for such customer to believe the same to be true. Thus, the request for a deposit of some initial fees to be eligible to avail of the scratch card offer is quite a deceptive request, which may be acceded to,” the Court remarked.

The court also raised the possibility that several individuals were collaborating to unlawfully profit from this scheme, and bank accounts may have been opened with inaccurate details.

Consequently, the Court prohibited the defendants from using the ‘AJIO‘ mark or sending any communication to customers for collecting funds in any bank accounts.

Justice Singh ordered the immediate freezing of the bank accounts of the scammers by the three banks where they had opened accounts.

The banks have been instructed to provide complete bank statements, KYC details, and other account information.

“The telecom service providers i.e., Defendant Nos. 10 to 12 shall immediately block all the above-mentioned mobile numbers and shall place on record the entire documentation available with them regarding the identity of the individuals who had registered the mobile numbers mentioned in paragraph 29. The DoT [Department of Telecommunications] shall issue blocking orders in respect of all these mobile numbers which shall be made non-operational with immediate effect.”

The Court will resume the case on September 25.

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