Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

Ashneer Grover-BharatPe Row: Here Are The Key Developments So Far

On Wednesday, the Fintech startup sacked Ashneer Grover's wife Madhuri Jain Grover over alleged financial irregularities and cancelled ESOPs vested with her

Ashneer Grover took a voluntary leave on January 19 this year till March 2022.

It started with a leaked phone call, and ever since, BharatPe co-founder and managing director Ashneer Grover has been in the news.

On Wednesday, the Fintech startup sacked his wife Madhuri Jain Grover over alleged financial irregularities and cancelled ESOPs vested with her.

She is alleged to have used company funds for personal beauty treatments, buying electronic items and family trips. Stock options vested with Madhuri have also been cancelled.

Here are the key developments in the BharatPe saga so far:

In January this year, an audio clip was leaked on social media where Ashneer Grover was heard allegedly threatening and abusing Kotak Bank’s employee over Nykaa’s IPO.

Grover, however, has denied the allegations and termed the audio clip as "fake".

It emerged that Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain had sent a legal notice to Kotak Mahindra Bank on Oct 31, 2021 for failing to provide financing in Nykaa’s IPO.

The bank says it will take “appropriate legal action” against Grover over the contents of the audio clip.

Just a week later, an email exchange between Grover and Sequoia India’s Harshjit Sethi from August 2020 surfaces, in which the BharatPe cofounder allegedly used expletives over the course of the conversation.

On January 19, Grover goes on ‘voluntary’ leave till March-end.

Just days later, his wife Madhuri Grover, who works as the Head of Controls in BharatPe, went on voluntary leave.

The same day, BharatPe appointed Alvarez and Marsal (A&M), for internal audit at the board’s recommendation.

In February, a preliminary investigation by professional services firm Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) found fraudulent transactions including payments to non-existent vendors as well as irregularities of invoices.

According to the report, the fraud related to fake invoices has cost the company a loss of Rs 10.97 crore.

On February 7, Grover wrote to the company’s board seeking the removal of chief executive officer (CEO) Suhail Sameer from the position of director.

Just two days later, Madhuri Jain wrote to A&M, saying she was considering legal action against the firm, and has demanded an internal investigation on how the contents of the probe undertaken by A&M were allegedly ‘leaked’.

A day later, BharatPe chief executive Suhail Sameer told employees that findings of an ongoing governance review of the Delhi-based firm will be shared with the board in a couple of weeks while assuring them that the fintech firm has sufficient funds to tide over the crisis.

He also said that the company is “under constant scrutiny and spotlight” and “what is being written is nothing but unsubstantiated rumours.” 

On February 22, Ashneer Grover wrote a scathing letter to the board of Resilient Innovations, the parent of BharatPe, attacking the chairman of the board, Rajnish Kumar and co-founder Bhavik Koladiya.

While Grover accused Kumar of being biased and prejudiced, he claimed Koladiya was abusive and stated that he reserves the right to take appropriate legal action.

A day later, the firm accused Grover of spreading false information which it says is not appropriate for a managing director.

On February 23, 2022, the Fintech startup sacked Madhuri Jain Grover over alleged financial irregularities and cancelled ESOPs vested with her.

“As per your query, we can confirm that services of Madhuri Jain Grover have been terminated in accordance with the terms of her employment agreement,” the company spokesperson said.