Payments provider BharatPe announced on Wednesday that its former managing director and co-founder Ashneer Grover was “no longer an employee, founder, or director” and that he and his family had engaged in “gross misuse of company money,” in a move unprecedented in India’s startup sector.
Why has Ashneer Grover’s co-founder designation been revoked by BharatPe?
The Grover family and their relatives, according to BharatPe, “engaged in extensive misappropriation of company funds, including, but not limited to, creating fake vendors through which they syphoned money away from the company’s expense account and grossly abused company expense accounts in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles.”
As a result, “Mr Grover is no longer an employee, founder, or director of the firm as a result of his actions,” BharatPe said.
Grover resigned in a short letter in which he stated that he and his family were being “vilified and degraded in the most despicable manner.”
“From being hailed as the face of Indian business, I’m now squandering my time fighting a protracted, lonely war against my own investors and management.” Unfortunately, the management has lost sight of what is truly at risk – BharatPe,” Ashneer Grover stated in his letter.
“You treat us Founders as slaves – pushing us to build multi-billion-dollar businesses and cutting us down at will. Investor-Founder relation in India is one of Master-Slave. I am the rebel slave who must be hung by the tree so none of the other slaves can dare to be like me ever again. Unfortunately, I refuse to walk that path and refuse to tolerate this continuous and shameful vilification of me and my family. I have been the one who founded this company and built it up to its enviable position today, no wonder you want to oust me for your vested interests,” he wrote in the letter.
What are BharatPe’s allegations based on?
BharatPe’s board of directors met late Tuesday to discuss a PwC report on governance processes at the business, especially Ashneer Grover’s behaviour. Following reports of impropriety at BharatPe, PwC was hired in late January.
Grover resigned minutes after receiving notification that “part of the conclusions of the probe will be disclosed to the Board,” according to BharatPe’s statement.
Grover resigned minutes after he “got the notification that some of the conclusions of the probe would be disclosed to the Board,” according to meeting developments. “He promptly shirked responsibility by writing an email to the Board offering his resignation and constructing another false narrative of the events to the public,” according to the report.