ashneer grover: BharatPe board unlikely to accept Ashneer Grover’s payout demand


Bengaluru | Mumbai: The BharatPe board is unlikely to accept cofounder Ashneer Grover’s demand for a payout amid a full blown battle between the two parties, according to several people in the know. The saga is expected to lead to a complex legal battle between Grover and the fintech startup’s board, these people said.

Grover, according to sources, is unlikely to leave BharatPe without “adequate compensation”

ET had first reported on January 31 that Grover, who is on leave until the end of March,
had hired New Delhi law firm Karanjawala & Co. amid mounting pressure on him to exit the company permanently.

Since then, initial findings of an preliminary investigation conducted by Alvarez & Marsal commissioned by BharatPe’s board has found evidence of financial irregularities around recruitments and payments to non-existent vendors, as
ET reported on Friday morning.

A person aware of the goings-on said Grover hired a law firm as he realised the board wasn’t going to agree to his demand for a multi-million-dollar settlement. “He (Grover) wanted to leave but hold onto his shares…but the board is trying to get him out without a payday,” another person close to the matter said.

In an
exclusive interaction with ET on January 31, the first since the
Kotak audio clip saga unfolded, Grover said he was happy to move on from an executive role and stay on as a shareholder and a founder of the fintech firm, which is valued at $2.8 billion. “I do not fear anything. I know how to create value and will not waste my time on politics or where there is just value preservation. Irrespective of what happens, no one can take it away from me that I created BharatPe from scratch,” he had said then.

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One of the persons cited above said, “All options are on the table. He (Grover) will make his next move once the board formally tells him of their decision. Him hiring a law firm is obviously an indication that he is contemplating using everything he can to get the best outcome possible.”

Sources familiar with the rapid developments said at the time of writing this that Grover was yet to receive a formal communication on being fired from BharatPe.

Grover did not respond to ET’s calls and messages. Emails sent to Insight Partners and Ribbit Capital did not elicit a response. Sequoia Capital India, which owns nearly 20% in the firm, said it had no comment on the ongoing controversy. BharatPe board chairman Rajnish Kumar and board member Kewal Handa declined a request for comment by ET.

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