Ashneer Grover, the co-founder and managing director of BharatPe, has resigned from the fintech firm amid ongoing controversy at the company. “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,” Grover wrote in his resignation email. The decision comes few day after he had lost an arbitration that he had filed against the fintech’s decision to launch an investigation against him, with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
The controversy at one of the most famous fintech companies in India started after an audio clip had surfaced online where Grover had allegedly abused an employee of the Kotak Mahindra Bank.
“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 they are ostensibly trying to protect,” BharatPe managing director wrote in his letter to the board.
“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 of what is actually at stake – BharatPe,” he further added.
BharatPe-Ashneer Grover Controversy: A Timeline
Earlier this year, a phone conversation went viral in which a man, alleged to be Ashneer Grover, could be heard abusing an employee of Kotak Mahindra Bank after the lender had missed out on the initial public offering (IPO) allotment for Nykaa. At first, BharatPe managing director claimed the audio was ‘fake’ in a tweet on social media platform. Later, he deleted the tweet. Kotak Mahindra Bank allegedly initiated a case against Ashneer Grover and his wife for using “inappropriate languages” against their employees.
On January 19, Grover went for a “voluntary leave” of absence until the end of March. He mentioned at that time that he will be back “on or before April 1.”
After 10 days, BharatPe Board announced to launch an independent audit of its internal process and systems. It also appointed Alvarez and Marsal, a leading management consultant and risk advisory firm to advise the board on its recommendations.
According to the preliminary report by risk advisory firm Alvarez and Marsal conducted in January, inconsistencies were found in dealings with vendors.
Grover, time-and-again alleged that the governance review was riddled with prejudice. He wrote a letter to the BharatPe board asking them to remove the chief operating officer Suhail Sameer from the board.
Earlier in February, Grover sought indemnity from any future action against him in his ongoing settlement discussions with the fintech firm and its shareholders, according to reports.
Last week, BharatPe board sacked Madhuri Jain Grover, Ashneer’s wife and head of controls at the company, over allegations of misappropriation of funds.
‘Founder of the Company has been Reduced to a Button to be Pressed’
“ ..It is sad that you have even lost touch with the founder. For you, the founder of the company has been reduced to a button to be pressed when needed. I cease to be a human for you. Today, you have chosen to believe in gossip and rumours about me instead of having a frank conversation,” said Grover in his letter.
“The fact of the matter is that today you believe that I have served my utility and so incrementally I am just becoming a liability. And since the investor template to make an unwanted founder go away is to make them the villain of the piece, that’s what you have gone and done … Today I am being vilified and treated in the most disgraceful manner,” he further mentioned.