BharatPe Co-founder Ashneer Grover Resigns; Claims He Was Forced To Resign From His Own Company
Amid the ongoing controversy, the co-founder and managing director of BharatPe, Ashneer Grover has resigned from the fintech firm. In his resignation mail he wrote, “I write this with a heavy heart as today I am being forced to bid adieu to a company of which I am a founder”.
This decision comes after days, post losing an arbitration that he had filed against the fintech’s decision to launch an investigation against him, with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
The starting point of all this controversy is an audio clip which surfaced online, wherein one can hear Ashneer Grover abusing an employee of the Kotak Mahindra Bank.
BharatPe MD Resigns
In his letter to the board, BharatPe managing director wrote that “I say with my head held high that today this company stands as a leader in the fintech world. Since the beginning of 2022, unfortunately, I’ve been embroiled in baseless and targeted attacks on me and my family by a few individuals who are ready not only to harm me and my reputation but also harm the reputation of the company, which they are ostensibly trying to protect.”
He further added that “From being celebrated as the face of Indian entrepreneurship and an inspiration to the Indian youth to build their own businesses, I am now wasting myself fighting a long, lonely battle against my own investors and management. Unfortunately, in this battle, the management has lost of what is actually at stake – BharatPe”.
A Timeline Of The Entire Controversy
This all started earlier this year, wherein a man alleged to be Ashneer Grover was heard abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee for missing out on the IPO for Nykaa. In a tweet, he said that the audio was fake. However, later on deleted the tweet. For using “inappropriate languages” against their employees, Kotak Mahindra Bank allegedly initiated a case against Ashneer Grover and his wife.
On January 19, Grover went for a “voluntary leave” of absence until the end of March. He mentioned at that time that he will be back “on or before April 1.”
Post this, the Board decided to launch an independent audit of its internal process and systems. A leading management consultant and risk advisory firm, Alvarez and Marsal, was appointed to advise the board on its recommendations.
Inconsistencies were found in dealings with vendors, said the preliminary report by risk advisory firm Alvarez and Marsal conducted in January.
Grover asked BharatPe board asking them to remove the chief operating officer Suhail Sameer from the board, after alleging that the governance review was riddled with prejudice.
According to the reports earlier in February, Grover sought indemnity from any future action against him in his ongoing settlement discussions with the fintech firm and its shareholders.
Over the allegations of misappropriation of funds, Ashneer’s wife, Madhuri Jain Grover, was sacked by the Board as the head of controls at the company.
Grover in his letter said “ ..It is sad that you have even lost touch with the founder. For you, the founder of the company has been reduced to a button to be pressed when needed. I cease to be a human for you. Today, you have chosen to believe in gossip and rumours about me instead of having a frank conversation”.
He further mentioned, “The fact of the matter is that today you believe that I have served my utility and so incrementally I am just becoming a liability. And since the investor template to make an unwanted founder go away is to make them the villain of the piece, that’s what you have gone and done … Today I am being vilified and treated in the most disgraceful manner.”