BharatPe slaps Ashneer Grover with Rs 88 crore lawsuit for fraud, living in South Delhi duplex meant for company

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadDec 09, 2022 | 10:22

BharatPe slaps Ashneer Grover with Rs 88 crore lawsuit for fraud, living in South Delhi duplex meant for company

BharatPe sues Ashneer Grover and wife. Photo: ashneer.grover/Instagram

It seems like the Bharat vs Ashneer Grover drama is not yet over. While the year 2022 started with BharatPe's MD and co-founder Ashneer Grover exiting the company after tu tu main main with the management, a lawsuit at the end of the year seems to have renewed the drama. 

What happened? BharatPe and Ashneer Grover have indeed made history. For the very first time in India, a company is suing its founder. BharatPe filed a lawsuit against Grover and his family members including his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, who was the head of controls at the company.

BharatPe has initiated civil and criminal action against erstwhile co-founder and managing director Ashneer Grover, former Head of Controls Madhuri Jain Grover and other connected parties of their family for various claims, including misappropriation of company funds.
- BharatPe Spokesperson (PTI)

Why? The lawsuit alleges that Ashneer Grover, Madhuri Jain Grover, and other family members misappropriated company funds for personal use. 

  • A criminal complaint has been filed with the Economic Offences Wing for embezzlement of funds, forgery, and criminal breach of trust, among others. 

During the time that Ashneer Grover and his wife quit the company or were forced out, an internal audit was conducted which reportedly claimed fraud and misappropriation of funds by the Grovers.

The lawsuit in detail: BharatPe in its lawsuit claims that - 

  • Madhuri Jain Grover, BharatPe's former head of controls made up around 30 fake vendor bills amounting to Rs 71.1 crore. These vendors did not exist, or provide any real goods or services to the company. 
  • When the fake vendors came to the notice of the GST department, the company had to foot a penalty of Rs 1.66 crore. 
  • BharatPe alleges that Jain also approved payments of Rs 7.6 crore towards third-party recruiters, but who never really delivered on their services. Eight of these contractors were reportedly connected to the Grover family. 
Madhuri Jain Grover. Photo: ashneer.grover/Instagram
  • It also mentions that BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer was recruited by a HR company called Vikas Enterprises, despite being hired directly by the company. 
  • The Grovers lived in a duplex apartment in Panchsheel Park, South Delhi, which was originally meant to be a company guest house. Reportedly, the company paid a bill of Rs 52 lakh towards the rent and security deposit of the house. 

(The Grovers reportedly live in a different apartment now)

  • BharatPe also alleges that Ashneer Grover and his family used company funds to buy appliances and furniture for their home. 
  • Allegedly, the office renovation was given to the interior design company, Mauve and Brown, owned by Madhuri Jain Grover for Rs 1.85 crore. The process to select the vendor was also forged, according to BharatPe.
  • Furthermore, the company claims Grovers holidayed in the US, Dubai, Thailand and other places on company funds, and paid for the visaa, flight and other expenses from company funds for their family members who didn't work for the company. 

  • It also claims that Madhuri Jain Grover used company funds for skincare treatment. 
  • All-in-all, BharatPe claims the Grovers funded a lot of their lavish lifestyle with the investors' money. 

What does BharatPe want? The lawsuit seeks nearly Rs 88 crore in damages including Rs 5 crore for maligning the company's reputation by tweets and other statements by Grover and his family members.

  • Financial Express reported that Delhi High Court issued summons to Grover and his wife in the case. It has also barred the couple from making defamatory comments about BharatPe. 
  • On the other hand, Ashneer Grover has penned a book called Doglapan which recounts his start-up journey, but more importantly tells the tale of his fallout with BharatPe.   
  • BharatPe has also demanded in the complaint that the Grovers disclose their assets. 

If found guilty, the Grovers can face up to 10 years in jail. 

(DailyO reached out to Ashneer Grover for a comment. This story will be updated when he responds.)

On Twitter, Ashneer Grover said that all the news about him in the media was boring him as it was nothing new. He also advertised his book Doglapan which recounts Grover's start-up journey and the tiff with BharatPe. 

Last updated: December 09, 2022 | 10:59
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