BharatPe Co-Founder Ashneer Grover Can Be Fired Any Moment Now: Financial Fraud Is The Reason?
BharatPe has appointed risk advisory firm Alvarez and Marsal to conduct an independent review of the startup’s internal processes and systems.
The move comes shortly after cofounder Ashneer Grover chose to take a leave of absence from the company.
History Of Misbehavior
He has been accused of using abusive behavior against a Kotak Bank employee which was recorded in a new deleted tweet.
Despite its financial success BharatPe has been mired in controversies involving people at the top.
Apart from Grover, Bhavik Koladiya, a former co-founder was convicted in a credit card fraud case in the US.
Kotak Mahindra Incident
But in Grover’s case, things shifted from bad to worse when an audio clip of him threatening and verbally abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee during a call went viral.
Grover was frustrated over the bank’s failure to allocate him and his wife shares during Nykaa’s IPO.
Here’s the translation of what he said in the clip:
“This is your last day, live your life. An encounter is going to happen to you. Your encounter will happen in front of your family,”
Both he and his wife had filed for damages against potential gains they would have made from the Nykaa IPO had they been able to invest INR 500 Cr in it.
Although Grover tried to deny the veracity of the audio clip, it ultimately earned confirmation when Kotak Mahindra Bank stated its acknowledgement.
No Termination Yet
BharatPe clarified that no one has been fired despite rumors that Ashneer Grover has left.
A spokesperson said that the board is working on an “independent and thorough” audit process.
No action has or will be taken until the audit is complete.
Some of the issues it is investigating also involve instances of financial fraud.
One, invoices possibly being over-inflated and some vendors possibly being fake.
Another concern is that when a merchant recorded a transaction, BharatPe may have inflated the value of these transactions.
Financial Fraud Suspicions?
Livemint reports that although Grover went on leave because of the Kotak situation, he was put on “mandatory” leave of absence”.
But a “bigger case of financial fraud” might be warranted for which Ashneer, his wife Madhuri and five others are being probed .
A preliminary investigation pegs the scope of the financial misconduct at double-digit crores.
Overpriced Realty Purchases
The main concern is over realty purchases made by Grover during 2021.
He bought two houses worth more than Rs 20-30 crore each and it is unclear how he funded these purchases.
Apparently the board has also found signs of “premeditated” fraud and is waiting until more conclusive evidence surfaces,
Sources say that investors are “in no mood to let this go,” and that Grover’s equity in the company is also being evaluated.