Yesterday, Ashneer Grover, co-founder of BharatPe, resigned as director of the board and MD of the fintech firm. At that time, he said that he had been ‘vilified’ and treated in the “most disrespectful manner” since the beginning of the year.
Now, the co-founder in exile finds himself stripped of all positions at BharatPe for his “misdeeds.”
The last few months have been grueling for the person who was once touted as the face of Indian entrepreneurship. It started when an audio clip of Grover abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee went viral, something he later denied to be true.
His heated email exchange with BharatPe investor Sequoia Capital was made public as well, and his appeal against the governance review was squashed by the arbitrator. Late last month, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover was sacked as Head of Controls at the fintech unicorn. The reason given was that she allegedly took part in the misappropriation of funds.
“The board will not allow the deplorable conduct of the Grover family to tarnish BharatPe’ s reputation or that of its hard-working employees and world-class technology. As a result of his misdeeds, Grover is no longer an employee, a founder, or a director of the company,” BharatPe said in a statement.
It seems that we might see BharatPe taking further legal actions as it accused Grover’s family and relatives of engaging in extensive misappropriation of company funds.
It was for this that Madhuri Jain was sacked – it was found that she had used company funds for her personal beauty treatments, buying electronic products, and for family trips to the US and Dubai. She was also alleged to have shared confidential information, which was used to raise invoices.
BharatPe said that Grover’s resignation came soon after he had received the agenda for an upcoming meeting scheduled to be held late Tuesday.
In the statement, the unicorn revealed that the misappropriation of funds (which Grover and his family have been accused of) include, but are not limited to, the creation of 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.
Grover contested this claim, saying that he was appalled, but not surprised, at the personal nature of the company’s statement. He said that the only thing lavish about him were his dreams and ability to achieve them against all odds through hard work and enterprise.
“It comes from a position of personal hatred and low thinking. I think the Board needs to be reminded of $1 million of secondary shares investors bought from me in Series C, $2.5 million in Series D, and $8.5 million in Series E,” he said.
Additionally, Grover’s resignation yesterday seems to have come without the approval of the board and majority investors as he “shirked responsibility.” This could mean that the unicorn could claw back shares up to 1.4%. Grover’s current stake in the fintech firm comes at 9.5%, ahead of the 7.8% owned by fellow co-founder Shashwat Nakrani.