The writing was on the wall; it was Ashneer Grover who decided to turn a blind eye to it for reasons best known to him.
After putting his feet firmly on the ground for a brief period, Ashneer Grover, the co-founder and MD of BharatPe, has finally resigned on March 01, 2022, confirms CNBC. He is also exiting from the board of directors, currently headed by Rajnish Kumar.
Grover’s resignation is a result of the boardroom dispute that was erupted following a series of scandals involving Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain, his brother and brother-in-law. Grover’s resignation has come days after his wife Madhuri Jain Grover who was the head of control was sacked by the company in the wake of accusations of financial frauds.
Ashneer’s decision to resign is apparently influenced by the verdict of emergency arbitrator that came a day before. The arbitrator had turned down his appeal to stop the investigation and denied any relief against the ongoing governance review at BharatPe.
Interestingly, Ashneer lived up to his nature of using strong words sounding a bit arrogant and frustrated while tendering the resignation.
“I write this with a heavy heart as today I am being forced to bid adieu to a company of which I am a founder. I say with my head held high that today this company stands as a leader in the fintech world. Since the beginning of 2022, unfortunately, I’ve been embroiled in baseless and targeted attacks on me and my family by a few individuals who are ready not only to harm me and my reputation but also harm the reputation of the company, which ostensibly they are trying to protect.” Ashneer wrote in a strong-worded resignation letter.
BharatPe is the young entry into the UPI payment space. In its existence of little over 3 years, it is now competing against giants like PayTM, PhonePe, and GooglePay and has captured a sizeable share of the market.
In his departure letter Grover wrote, “From being celebrated as the face of Indian entrepreneurship and an inspiration to the Indian youth to build their own businesses, I am now wasting myself fighting a long, lonely battle against my own investors and management. Unfortunately, in this battle, the management has lost what is actually at stake — BharatPe.”
Just a day before his resignation, Grover faced a big blow as he had lost an arbitration against the ongoing probe being conducted by BharatPe against him. The emergency arbitrator found no substantial ground to stop the governance review by the fintech firm.
For a little over a month, Grover was fully involved in a head-to-head battle with his own company’s management and board of directors. A series of allegations and leaks against each other have done serious damage to both parties.
In January, Grover was abruptly sent on two months leave due to allegations of insulting a Kotak Mahindra Bank staff, using abusive language, threatening to kill him. The serious allegations brought BharatPe under immense pressure and launched an investigation against him that uncovered many financial irregularities having a direct involvement of his wife and brother. Later, in a desperate attempt, he made an arbitration plea to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) accusing BharatPe of conducting an investigation that was not legal.
It all started after Ashneer appeared in an Indian reality show as one of the judges. He drew enough criticism for his harsh comments that viewers found insulting to budding entrepreneurs. While he was facing the wrath of social media users, a sudden appearance of a leaked audio tape triggered an investigation against him. In the audio tape, Grover was allegedly abusing and threatening a Kotak Group employee for missing shares allotted to them in the initial public offering of FSN E-Commerce Ventures, which manages Nykaa.
Grover earlier claimed that the video was fake and was an attempt to extort money. The tweet, however, was quickly deleted by him. He then sent a legal notice to Kotak for failing to provide funding for the Nykaa IPO. The notice was issued on the 30th of October 2021. However, it became public after the leak of an audio recording.
Here is the complete copy of his resignation obtained exclusively by CNBCTV18.