Bengaluru-based online real estate startup NoBroker.in claimed that its office was “attacked” by local agents and brokers on Tuesday. As the name suggests, the startup helps customers to save money paid as brokerage, something which would worry traditional property brokers.
CEO & Co-Founder Amit Kumar Agarwal said the attack was planned in advance. Several brokers tried to enter the office premise on September 15 morning. When the founders along with some employees tried to stop them, the brokers resorted to verbal and physical assault and more brokers joined in.
“Around 40-50 brokers gathered and tried to take forced entry in the office premises,” said Agarwal. “The intention of brokers was to intimidate us by hurting employees and breaking computers. They wanted us to stop the business and vacate the premises.”
“Some people protested against the functioning of the firm and questioned some of the practices. There was a verbal altercation and a complaint was filed. It is a non cognizable offence so no arrests were involved,” the deputy commissioner of police (south east) Dr Rohini Katoch said.
The company has filed a non-cognizable complaint at the nearby Madiwala police station. “The police have warned the miscreants against any future attempts to break into NoBroker premises,” said Agarwal.
While Agarwal and others were at the police station, another wave of brokers tried to force entry into the office. “Fortunately, none of our employee was seriously injured. However, some of our employees were roughed up by the miscreants. Our employees were slapped and punched when they tried to prevent the goons from entering the office premises,” added Agarwal.
The start up nobrokers.in which promises real estate services minus brokers has raised the hackles of real estate brokers in the light of an advertisement campaign in Bengaluru. Brokers had a couple of months ago threatened to file a case against the firm for allegedly bringing brokers into disrepute through an ad campaign.
This is similar to the recent ‘Uber riot’ in Paris where taxi drivers took to the streets against the disruptive startup. The incident hints at similar desperate measures that might occur going forward, triggered due to the insecurities of traditional businesses.
(With inputs from ENS Bengaluru)