- Sixit Bhatta, Tootle’s former owner, has been arrested.
- Allegations claim Bhatta benefited solely from Tootle’s ownership change.
- Zapp Services, Tootle’s current management, says it has no connection to the issue.
Sixit Bhatta, the co-founder of Tootle, Nepal’s first ride-sharing app, was arrested Thursday evening in Kathmandu on charges of criminal treachery and copyright infringement.
According to Kathmandu Police Chief SSP Bhupendra Khatri, speaking to TechLekh, Bhatta was arrested by a team from the District Police Range, Kathmandu. This action followed a complaint filed against him by Tootle’s former partners with the Nepal Copyright Registrar’s office.
Founded in 2017, Tootle marked its entry as Nepal’s first ride-sharing platform. However, amid robust competition from other international ride-sharing services like Pathao and Indrive, Tootle faced challenges in establishing a dominant market presence, leading to a temporary pause in its operations.
Subsequently, a Kathmandu-based delivery service company called Zapp Today agreed with Tootle to use its brand name and relaunched the ride-sharing application in September 2023.
It is alleged that Bhatta solely benefited from the ownership transfer of the Tootle.
For further insights on this matter, Techlekh contacted Rubik Joshi, co-founder and executive chairman of Zapp. Joshi clarified that the current matter concerning Bhatta is an internal issue and doesn’t directly involve Tootle, now managed by Zapp Services.
Joshi further explained that while Zapp Services adopted the “Tootle” brand name, the platform was entirely redeveloped from the ground up. The current iteration, referred to as “Tootle by Zapp,” is an independent platform built by Zapp Services, with no association to its previous ownership under Sixit Bhatta.
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