Karti P. Chidambaram, an Indian Lawmaker who is a Member of Parliament, has asked India’s fraud regulator, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), to investigate the finances of edtech Giant Byju’s.
Addressing the matter via Twitter, Chidambaram said, “I have written to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to look into the financing of Byju’s. It’s imperative that a thorough investigation is launched.”
In his letter expressing his concerns about Byju’s finances, Chidambaram, Chidambaram highlighted three chief allegations which warrant a thorough investigation.
Discrepancies in Series F round capital
Chidambaram pointed out the the $800 Mn series F funding round which the company closed last year, which saw participation from Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners and BlackRock, has yet to be completely reflected in the company’s balance sheet, as the company has not yet recieved $250 Mn from the round. “This raises a question of the missing ₹2,500 crore in the company’s funding.”
Missing capital from Oxshott Capital Partners
Byju’s had raised around ₹1,200 Crores from Oxshott Capital Partners in the October 2021, another chunk of equity capital which the company has confirmed that it has not recieved.
Audit Report for FY20-21
Chidambaram also brought to the regulator’s attention, Byju’s failure to file it’s cost audit report for fiscal 2020-2021. In the letter, he said “As per a news report from July 2, 2022, Byju’s has not yet gotten its financial statements for FY2020-21 audited from its auditor Deloitte, and will take more time to file the Cost Audit Report to the Ministry. This is in clear violations of Rules 6 (5)of the Companies (Cost Records and Audit) Rules, 2014.”
Chidambaram has had a history of being a bold critic to startups engaging in malpractices. He had earlier raised concerns about hyper-local quick commerce startups putting undue pressure on delivery workers to meet unfair delivery time expectations.
Byju Raveendran’s edtech decacorn, which happens to be India’s most valuable startup, has been going through a rough patch lately. The company recently had mass layoffs across various subsidiaries, and also pushed back payments for it’s $1 Bn acquisition of Entrance exam coaching institute chain Aakash.