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Insider trading accused Droom’s Sandeep Aggarwal gets relief; US department drops charges

Sandeep Soni

Online marketplace for used automobiles Droom on Wednesday announced United States Department of Justice (DOJ) dropping insider-trading charges against its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Aggarwal. The former founder of e-commerce company ShopClues, which was sold to Singapore's e-commerce firm Qoo10 last year, Aggarwal was charged by the DOJ and sued by the SEC in July 2013 for insider-trading in 2009 he was a Wall Street analyst. Droom said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also reached a civil settlement with Aggarwal relating to the same case. He founded ShopClues in 2011 and Droom in 2014.

"My legal case was quite daunting and emotionally draining not only for me but also my family, my parents, kids and the company I was building. When you are a CEO you are just like a fatherly figure and the investors who invested their precious capital are also important. I lived through trauma and had a lot of ups and downs but this just not put a stop, it only makes you stronger," Aggarwal told Financial Express Online. 

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Droom claimed to be the fourth-largest e-commerce company in India and largest in the automobile category with 80 per cent market share of the automobile transactions online. The company is also present in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. "As an investor in Droom and a friend of Sandeep's I am relieved this chapter in his life is over, said Siddharth Talwar, Droom Board Member and Partner, Lightbox VC.

"In terms of company, when I started Droom, my legal case was always in the backdrop so we always budgeted something called hope for the best and prepared for worst. I feel that time has come where India should produce large consumer internet brands and I feel proud to get a chance to produce one of them. If everything goes according to our plans, by 2021 Droom should be listed as on NASDAQ as a public company," said Aggarwal.

Droom's chief had pulled himself out of ShopClues in 2013 after he was indicted for the alleged fraud by the US agencies and had given control of the company to his estranged wife Radhika and the other co-founder Sanjay Sethi. Aggarwal had also filed a criminal defamation case against Sethi and Radhika in March 2017 reportedly alleging the two of downplaying his contribution in launching and running ShopClues.