After the month-long boardroom drama, pausing briefly with a suspension, finally on Friday May 21, Singapore-based B2B fashion start-up Zilingo fired its former CEO, Ankiti Bose, over complaints of serious financial irregularities.
However, the 30-year-old alleged that she was fired due to insubordination. “I have been suspended for the last 51 days based on an anonymous whistle-blower complaint, and today I am informed that my employment has been terminated inter alia on grounds of insubordination,” Ankiti Bose said in a post.
She claims that the company did not show her the reports and did not even give her time to produce the requested documents. “I have also been receiving a constant barrage of online threats to my life and family,” she wrote.
After Bose was suspended, she sent a legal notice to the company’s board levelling charges of harassment and abuse. The legal notice also levelled charges against Zilingo’s co-founder and CTO, Dhruv Kapoor, and its COO, Aadi Vaidya, that the two had not helped her when she first informed them of the harassment that she was facing.
In the statement, Zilingo also that it reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal action. “Following an investigation led by an independent forensics firm that was commissioned to look into complaints of serious financial irregularities, the company has decided to terminate Ankiti Bose’s employment with cause, and reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal action”.
The company added that Bose, who was put under suspension on March 31, brought to the board for the first time on April 11 “certain harassment-related issues pertaining to past time periods”. Zilingo added that these complaints did not include any harassment complaints against investors or nominees. It said that a top consulting firm was appointed to look into claims of harassment brought about by Ankiti Bose.
The company also said that its board, investors and employees were attacked through fake information along with “paid defamatory social media campaigns” throughout the time of the investigation. It has caused irreparable damage to the company, its board, investors and employees, Zilingo said.
“Following the recall of loans by debtholders, an independent financial advisor was appointed by the company, which is in the midst of assessing options for the business,” the statement said.
Bose was suspended by the Zilingo board on March 31, 2022, after a whistleblower apprised the company investors of financial wrongdoings in which Bose was alleged to be involved. She made news by the start-up co-founded by her when she was barely 23. She has been featured in Forbes “Asia 30 Under 30” list in 2018 as well as in Fortune’s “40 Under 40” along with “Bloomberg 50” in 2019.