Nakrani calls the boardroom fiasco an ‘aberration, and not the norm’
Nakrani accuses Ashneer Grover of creating a false narrative about the company
Move comes days after Ashneer Grover resigned as Managing Director of BharatPe citing ‘shameful vilification’
Taking potshots at fellow BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover, Shashvat Nakrani has now said that Grover allegedly tried to create a false narrative about the company.
In an internal memo, Nakrani explained his point saying that, “Ashneer sent in his resignation late night on March 1, 2022 to the board, minutes after receiving the agenda of the board meeting on the findings of the PwC report.”
He further backed the Board saying it had acted ‘quickly and decisively’, adding that the action was taken to ‘uphold good corporate governance.”
He said, “While the content of the enquiry report is confidential and as a board member, I am not at liberty to disclose its findings, I am proud of the fact that our board acted quickly and decisively to uphold good corporate governance.”
Essentially, Nakrani was referring to the audit undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that was tabled before the Board on March 1.
Terming the boardroom fiasco an ‘aberration’, Nakrani, in the internal memo accessed by ET, said, “It’s time now to stop rumours and innuendoes from distracting us and go back to building. Going forward, the management would focus on the company’s culture. The most critical is our culture and that’s us. I promise you that we will make BharatPe not only the best place to work in India but also the place where all of us belong.”
Interestingly, this is one of the few times that Nakrani has openly spoken about the row. Earlier in February, Nakrani had issued a statement backing BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer. Indicating his allegiance in the tussle, Nakrani had backed Sameer’s presence on the Board after Grover had sought the CEO’s expulsion.
This memo comes a day after Inc42 raised a host of questions ranging from high attrition rate to ‘culture’ dilution at the fintech giant. With the public mudslinging and its fallout a current top priority for the company, it appears that BharatPe’s competitors are fast closing in on its competitive edge. Add to that, uncertainty at the workplace has prompted many employees out in the job market, which could hit the company’s technical vertical badly.
Inc42 had also pointed out that any investigation into its finances could possibly lead to RBI revoking its Unity Small Finance Bank license, a move that jeopardise its sustainable future.
The Boardroom Drama
The troubles for Grover began after an expletive-laden audio of his became viral. This was followed by an internal audit that pointed to allegations of embezzlement, payments to fake vendors and syphoning of money against Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, who was the former head of controls at the company.
After a saga of mudslinging, Grover resigned from the company and its board on March 1 alleging ‘Shameful Vilification.’ This prompted a terse reply from the company accusing Grover of “spinning lies and hurling baseless allegations and threats” against BharatPe.
In its statement, BharatPe had 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 syphoned money away from the company’s expense account and grossly abused company expense accounts in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles.”
Meanwhile, reports continue to float that say that the company might take further legal action, including clawing back some of Grover’s shareholding.
The two warring sides refuse to back down and continue to hit out against each other. But, while an eerie silence pervades the battlefront, it could likely be the calm before the storm.