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Co-founder of BharatPe Ashneer Grover resigns after losing arbitration in Singapore, a week earlier his wife was sacked

Ashneer's resignation comes almost a week after the firm sacked his wife, Madhuri Jain, who was the company's head of controls, for alleged financial irregularities.

Ashneer Grover, the co-founder of BharatPe, who was also one of the investors on TV program Shark Tank, has reportedly put down his papers amid a probe that is currently ongoing to investigate financial fraud at the company. In an e-mail sent to the company board late on February 28, Monday night, Ashneer Grover said he’s resigning from the fintech firm. Ashneer’s resignation comes almost a week after the firm sacked his wife, Madhuri Jain, who was the company’s head of controls, for alleged financial irregularities including creating bogus invoices and billing the company for personal beauty treatments and vacations overseas.

Notably, Ashneer Grover had not updated his Twitter bio with the same information, until this report was published. His Twitter profile showed him as the Founder and MD of BharatPe.

Screenshot of Ashneer Grover’s Twitter profile

Ashneer Grover loses arbitration he filed in Singapore

The resignation comes a day after Ashneer Grover lost the arbitration in Singapore he filed against the fintech platform for launching a probe against him.

Grover had petitioned the Singapore International Arbitration Centre for arbitration (SIAC). Grover said in his appeal that the probe was unconstitutional since it went against the shareholder agreement and articles of organisation.

He had asked investors for Rs 4,000 crore in exchange for selling his 8.5 per cent ownership and leaving the company, but major investors in the fintech platform, according to news agency IANS, are refusing to negotiate. His stake would be worth about Rs 1,824 crore at a $2.85 billion valuation and the current dollar-rupee exchange rate.

Ashneer Grover’s resignation letter to the Board

In the letter to the Board, he claimed that he is being compelled to leave a company of which “I am a founder”.

“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. I say with my head held high that today this company stands as a leader in the fintech world,” Grover wrote in his resignation letter.

He alleged that he was being targeted by a few individuals, and was “vilified and treated in the most disgraceful manner.”

“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 ostensibly they are trying to protect,” he added.

“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 sight of what is actually at stake BharatPe,” Grover wrote.

Grover claimed that BharatPe’s investors were seeing him as a liability. “Let’s invoke the SHA. Let’s put him on leave under the pretext of a governance review. Let’s terminate his wife’s employment. Let’s vilify his whole clan. We as investors are on top of the food chain – let’s cut him down to size and make an example of him.”

“So when do we end this? We end this now. While I maintain that you will not find a single act of impropriety against me, I will not be participating in your charade…. I hereby resign as the Managing Director of BharatPe, effective immediately. I also resign as a Director of the Board. I will continue as the single largest individual shareholder of the company. I have founded and built BharatPe into what it is today, and this identity, none of you can take away from me.,” Grover exclaimed.

Image source: Economic Times

BharatPe sacks Madhuri Jain, wife of Ashneer Grover over financial irregularities

On February 22, BharatPe terminated Madhuri Jain Grover, wife of Ashneer Grover, from her post of the controller over allegations of ‘misappropriation of funds’. As per a report, she had been named in the initial investigation by Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) investigation over financial irregularities in BharatPe. Madhuri Jain had been financial in charge of the company since October 2018.

Ashneer Grover goes on a leave

Earlier on January 19, Grover posted a letter on his verified Twitter handle with the caption “On leave. Back on 1st April.”

“I’ve been relentlessly at work building up BharatPe for almost 4 years. After much deliberation and introspection, I plan to take temporary leave of absence from BharatPe till March end. I will return on or before 1st April, 2022,” Ashneer Grover had written.

Allegations against Ashneer and Madhuri

In the last two months, two different sets of allegations have been laid down against Ashneer Grover and his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover. In January this year, it was reported that the couple had misbehaved with a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee over a phone call last year. The Bank had allegedly failed to finance their application and buy shares of FSN E-commerce Ventures that runs cosmetics platform Nykaa.

Later in February, the independent investigation agency A&M found that there were irregularities in the company’s books. The first allegation was linked to anomalies in recruitment, while the second concerns paying non-existent vendors. Madhuri Grover, Ashneer Grover’s wife and her brother, Shwetank Jain, are reportedly linked to both the financial wrongdoings. The second allegation was linked to dealings with non-existing vendors and payments of penalties to avoid show-cause notices.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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