BharatPe's Ashneer Grover threatens Kotak employee over Nykaa IPO in leaked audio, he says fake
An audio clip is going viral on social media, allegedly of BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover abusing and threatening to kill a Kotak bank employee for not getting him Nykaa IPO allocation. Grover has called the audio fake.
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BharatPe founder and Managing Director, Ashneer Grover, is in the middle of a controversy. An audio clip is going viral on social media allegedly of the startup millionaire threatening to kill a Kotak bank employee for failing to get him the Nykaa IPO allocation.
You may recognise Ashneer Grover from his appearance as a judge on Shark Tank India. And living up to the reputation of most judges on the startup funding reality show, he is known for being crude with his words.
WTF! Tu tadaak & all to founders on national TV. ? this is so NOT required. pic.twitter.com/h7OR6rKoWd— Dr Ritesh Malik (@drriteshmalik) December 24, 2021
Allegedly in the audio clip, Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover are heard arguing with the bank employee over not getting them the IPO allocation, with the former hurling out abuses and even threats to the employee and his family during the conversation. The word Grover reportedly uses to threaten the bank employee is 'encounter'.
The bank employee is heard asking Ashneer Grover not to use such crude language, that he respects him a lot and doesn’t want to ruin the professional relationship they have formed. There is also a mention of another Kotak bank employee here, who reportedly promised the millionaire couple a Nykaa IPO allocation.
This audio clip was shared by an anonymous handle on Twitter and YouTube.
WHAT GROVER SAID
On the other hand, Ashneer Grover reacted to the viral audio clip, claiming that it is fake. Grover claims that a marketing company by the name of Unicon Baba – who seems to have this Twitter handle @uni_con1 - had been demanding a sum of US$240,000 in BITCOINS in exchange for managing PR and marketing.
When Grover refused to pay the sum, he was allegedly threatened by the marketing company with a ‘fake audio clip’ to extort the money from him.
Folks. Chill ! It’s a FAKE audio by some scamster trying to extort funds (US$ 240K in bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I’ve got more character. And Internet has got enough scamsters :) pic.twitter.com/pCkdPLwBaq— Ashneer Grover (@Ashneer_Grover) January 6, 2022
So far, there has been no reaction by Unicon Baba on Twitter, who has the same name, profile picture and email ID as seen in the screenshots of the emails shared by Grover. And there has been no response from Kotak bank as well.
Screenshot of Twitter bio of @uni_con1
A BIT OF CONTEXT
Moreover, Unicon Baba on December 25, 2021 had tweeted that BharatPe's work culture was toxic, urging employees to leave the company. The Twitter user also promised to help the resigning employees find jobs elsewhere. It needs to be noted that the date of conversation between Unicon Baba and Grover is mentioned as December 27, 2021, a day after the former's tweet.
What's more interesting is that Ashneer Grover’s LinkedIn profile shows that he worked for Kotak Investment Banking as its Vice-President and had also worked on IPOs.
Screenshot of Ashneer Grover's LinkedIn profile
TWITTER WEIGHS IN
While the whole story of what really happened and who is to blame remains unknown, netizens have been busy weighing on whether the audio clip is fake or true or if Grover’s claims are true or false.
Some netizens say they’ve heard him enough on Shark Tank to know that its him in the audio clip. Others say that faking the entire conversation with two characters and such detailed argument is difficult.
ashneer Grover should not be on this show. He's nuts. Look at this behaviour with the bank employee. Have you even heard the voice recording? ? https://t.co/6yIs5zVeJn— Honey_2014 (@Honey20148) January 6, 2022
Neitzens also discussed why Ashneer Grover was (reportedly) getting so emotional over not getting Nykaa IPO allocation. They discussed how the allocation system works.
Well noted, Kajal. It sounds like Mr Grover wasn't aware that IPO application is a game of luck and just because you apply doesn't mean you are entitled to get an allocation. His anger seems completely misplaced.— AM ?? (@amitamajor) January 5, 2022
IPO allocation is not guaranteed, but investors do get a refund in case they fail to get the allocation. This usually happens when the number of investors applying to the IPO allocation is more than the number of allocations available.
BHARATPE AND ASHNEER GROVER
Ashneer Grover is no stranger to the start-up ecosystem in India. However, in the recent few months, there have been no-so-flattering reports about the work culture at his company, BharatPe. MoneyControl in November 2020 had reported how senior executives were leaving the company in a hurry over alleged toxic work culture.
The report mentioned accounts of Ashneer Grover being accused of high-handedness and being a control freak. Of course, BharatPe has refuted all these claims.
BharatPe is a fintech start-up company in India with backing from major investors like Sequoia Capital, and more. The company aggregates QR codes for small businesses, Kirana stores and offline stores.