Ashneer Grover’s rise was once hailed as a success story— till a rift between the co-founder of the unicorn start-up BharatPe and board members descended into a muck-throwing, major controversy.
Grover resigned on March 1, accusing BharatPe officials of targeting him. The payment start-up hit back by stripping Grover of all positions for his alleged ‘misdeeds’ and may take further legal action, including cutting some of his shareholding.
In his resignation letter, Grover launched a scathing attack on BharatPe officials for allegedly targeting him. “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 letter.
“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 wrote.
Grover filed a petition at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) to ward off a board investigation. However, his plea was rejected. In another face loss, the services of Grover’s wife and ex-head of controls at BharatPe, Madhuri Jain, were terminated, based on allegations of financial irregularities and money siphoning.
BharatPe, which allows shop owners to make digital payments through QR codes, stated that Grover had resigned after receiving the agenda for an upcoming board meeting that included submission of an independent audit regarding his conduct.
‘The Grover family and their relatives engaged in extensive misappropriation of company funds, including, but not limited to, creating fake vendors through which they siphoned money away from the company’s account and grossly abused company expense accounts in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles’, BharatPe’s statement alleged.
Grover currently owns a 9.5 per cent stake in BharatPe, while his co-founder Shashwat Nakrani owns 7.8 per cent. Investor Sequoia Capital India is the largest shareholder in BharatPe with a 19.6 per cent stake, followed by Coatue at 12.4 per cent and Ribbit Capital at 11 per cent.
Grover has reportedly made several allegations on BharatPe board members and investor Sequoia Capital.