The controversy around BharatPe Co-founder and Managing Director Ashneer Grover is getting thicker, with reports now claiming that a preliminary probe by a third-party risk advisory firm has discovered alleged financial frauds during the period when Grover and his wife were at the helm at the fintech platform.
Through its legal firm, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, BharatPe had appointed Alvarez and Marsal, a leading management consultant and risk advisory firm, to look into financial irregularities at the firm and submit the report to the Board.
According to several media reports, Alvarez and Marsal submitted the report to BharatPe Board, which has raised alleged financial irregularities in recruitment processes as well as paying non-existent vendors. Ashneer's wife Madhuri Grover served as head of control at BharatPe since incorporation and headed procurement and admin departments.
She, along with Ashneer, has gone on voluntary leave after the controversy erupted over Ashneer allegedly using inappropriate language against Kotak Mahindra Bank's staff. Ashneer or his wife were yet to comment on the reports citing financial irregularities when they were at the helm.
In another twist to the ongoing BharatPe saga, Ashneer Grover wrote to the company board asking for the removal of newly-appointed CEO Suhail Sameer from the board.
In a letter to the board, Grover, who has gone on voluntary leave till March-end, asked the Board for Sameer's removal. "I, now, in exercise of the power vested in me by Clause 3.7 of the SHA and Clause 91.7 of the AoA do hereby withdraw, my nomination of Suhail Sameer as a Director nominated by me to the Board of Directors of the Company.
"In light thereof, I, Ashneer Grover request the Board of Directors of the Company to complete the necessary processes to record the cessation of the Directorship of Suhail Sameer as a Director of the Company," Grover wrote in the letter. In a statement on Friday, BharatPe said that it is "deeply pained that the integrity of the BharatPe board or individual board members is being questioned time and again".
"The Board in all its actions has followed due process in the best interest of the company. We would urge that the confidentiality and integrity of the Governance review and board meetings is maintained by all," the fintech platform said, adding that the Board is yet to receive any interim or final report of the review.
Earlier, reports surfaced that BharatPe had terminated Grover. But BharatPe said last week it has not terminated the services of any employee (including Grover) at this stage, and initiated an internal audit process.