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BharatPe Onboards PwC For Investigation Against Alleged Financial Irregularities & Ashneer Grover

BharatPe Onboards PwC For Investigation Against Alleged Financial Irregularities & Ashneer Grover

The move comes a day after the BharatPe cofounder hired law firm Karanjawala & Co. to safeguard his shareholding in case he is ousted from the company

Ashneer and his wife Madhuri Grover took a voluntary leave of absence from the company following multiple controversies, and the startup later started an investigation into its corporate governance

The startup’s issues with its founding member came to light when an audio clip of Grover allegedly threatening and verbally abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee went viral

The investigation into alleged financial irregularities at BharatPe has widened, as the fintech firm has reportedly onboarded one of the Big Four accounting firms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to look into the company’s transactions.

Previously, Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has been auditing the company’s financials, where PwC is supposed to aid the external auditors; however, the scope of its involvement stands undisclosed.

According to the Mint report, Deloitte was the statutory auditor of BharatPe and is also likely to be questioned on how it missed the alleged financial irregularities.

Inc42 couldn’t independently verify the development.

BharatPe had appointed A&M, a risk advisory firm to conduct an independent audit of the startup’s internal processes and systems. It was a follow-up after cofounder Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Grover took a voluntary leave of absence from the company following multiple controversies.

The board has also been grilled for not taking an action despite seeing red flags in BharatPe’s corporate governance. Only yesterday, Inc42 reported that the BharatPe cofounder hired law firm Karanjawala & Co. to safeguard his shareholding in case he is ousted from the company.

Ashneer Grover Caught In Headlights & The Series Of Investigations That Followed

BharatPe’s trouble with Grover came to a head when an audio clip of Grover allegedly threatening and verbally abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee during a telephone conversation went viral.

Grover can be heard issuing ‘encounter’ threats and abusing a Kotak Mahindra employee in the viral audio clip — which he had claimed was fake, an attempt to tarnish his reputation. In the audio, Grover and his wife were talking to the relationship manager as they weren’t allocated shares during Nykaa’s IPO. The bank employee was trying to placate the unicorn founder in the alleged audio.

In one of our previous stories, we had highlighted the startup’s challenges with corporate governance. While Grover and his wife were the talk of the town for the past few weeks amid the alleged audio leak, Bhavik Koladiya, a former cofounder of the startup and the current group head of product and technology, was convicted in a credit card fraud case in the US.

Alternately, the markets regulator SEBI has reportedly initiated an investigation into Kotak Wealth — the wealth management arm of Kotak. The markets regulator wants to ascertain whether there was any conflict of interest. This is further in line with Kotak starting an internal investigation on its relationship managers, to know if there was any violation of the ethical code of conduct or any instance of mis-selling.