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Amid Power Struggle, BharatPe Paid INR 12.5 Cr Tax Penalty For Invoices To Fake Vendors

Amid Power Struggle, BharatPe Paid INR 12.5 Cr Tax Penalty For Invoices To Fake Vendors

As per reports, BharatPe has further deposited INR 1.5 Cr with tax authorities over invoices to non-existing vendors

The Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGI) is said to be scrutinising BharatPe's financial data over the past several months

The company had already deposited INR 11 Cr with the DGGI over similar payments and invoices to non-existent vendors in October last year.

Even as fintech unicorn BharatPe looks to turn around a new corner sans former cofounder and managing director Ashneer Grover, the company has reportedly been fined again for payments and invoices linked to fake vendors.

According a Business Standard report, based on information from unnamed sources, the tax authority’s findings show several instances of fraud at BharatPe, with INR 12.5 Cr recovered from the company so far over two instances of penalties.

The Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGI) is said to be scrutinising the financial data for BharatPe over the past several months and had already fined the company in October 2021. Last year, BharatPe had deposited INR 11 Cr with the DGGI over similar invoices to non-existent vendors. Now, it has further deposited Rs 1.5 crore with the tax authorities.

According to sources within the company, the DGGI is set to continue its investigation. It was the agency’s probe in October 2021, which is said to have been responsible for BharatPe roping in an external auditor in the form of Alvarez & Marsal to investigate the procurements from non-existent vendors or those who did not operate at principal place of business. This is said to have found more such alleged instances of payments to non-existent vendors.

Last week, BharatPe released a statement, dismissing Grover from the position of founder, managing director and also as an employee of the company. The fintech giant had alleged embezzlement, payments to fake vendors and syphoning money away from the company’s expense account by Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, who is the former head of controls at the company.

These allegations came a day after BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover resigned from the board and as managing director of the company. In its media statement, BharatPe further said that, “The Grover family and their relatives engaged in extensive misappropriation of company funds, including, but not limited to, creating fake vendors through which they siphoned money away from the company’s expense account and grossly abused company expense accounts in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles.”

The company claimed that Grover only resigned after receiving a notice that results of the external audit would be presented to the board on March 1, 2022. The company said, “he quickly shirked responsibility by sending an email to the board submitting his resignation and fabricating another false narrative of the events to the public.”

Over the past few months, we have seen accusations from both sides, rebuttals, mudslinging and pretty much everyone in the company has been dragged in the melee. One thing that’s been somehow forgotten amid the torrent of controversies is whether the company can bounce back. As reported earlier, hundreds of employees are already looking for a way out, but beyond that there are some existential questions for the fintech unicorn about its future as well as its place in the fintech ecosystem.