The Delhi High Court refused Ashneer Grover’s request to lift the injunction, restraining him from creating any third-party interest in BharatPe shares
In January, Grover had agreed to not create any third-party interest in the shares under dispute
Bhavik Koldaiya moved the court against Grover over a share dispute dating back to when Grover resigned from BharatPe in March 2022
The Delhi High Court (HC) on Thursday (March 16) refused to grant relief to former BharatPe MD and cofounder Ashneer Grover in the share dispute case with BharatPe cofounder and OTPLess CEO Bhavik Koladiya.
Grover had requested for lifting the injunction, restraining him from creating any third-party interest in the 16,110 BharatPe shares in question and any rights that accrue to him as a consequence thereof. However, the HC denied the request, according to Inc42 sources.
Koladiya moved the court against Grover over a share dispute dating back to when Grover resigned from BharatPe in March 2022.
Koladiya filed the case in the HC against Grover on January 17 to take BharatPe shares back from him which he has been holding for the cofounder since at least 2019.
The Case Of Two Agreements
During the court proceedings in January, the former BharatPe MD’s counsel submitted in the court that Grover’s wife paid INR 8 Cr to Koladiya’s wife, a part of which was supposed to be towards the payment for shares.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing Koladiya, referred to an agreement for sale in December 2018, adding that the title has not passed to Grover since the transaction was never consummated.
“What has happened is a transaction without consideration,” said Rohtagi.
On the other hand, Grover’s counsel, referring to an email, said that he has shown prima facie that there were two agreements.
Grover’s counsel added that one agreement was taken by Koladiya and attached to the agreement he signed with other investors.
The consideration in the second agreement, signed between Koladiya and Grover, was supposed to be INR 88 Lakh. Grover’s counsel argued that the INR 8 Cr paid to Koladiya’s wife by Grover’s wife included the said consideration in the second agreement.
Rohtagi contented the claim, stating that the opposing counsel failed to show the whole provisions of the transaction while invoking Section 32 of the Sale of Goods Act, which states that payment and delivery are concurrent conditions.
“I am alleging a breach by him which gives me the right to treat the contract as repudiated,” Koladiya’s counsel said.
Justice Jalan noted that while Grover’s counsel continued to refer to the email, he had not submitted the agreement between Grover and Koladiya. “I haven’t seen agreements yet. For a prima facie case, I’ve to see the signed agreement,” Justice Jalan added.
The court also told Grover’s counsel, “If there is no real intention to sell then make a statement and don’t invite a prima facie finding.” The comment came as Koladiya and Grover both noted that there was no consideration of ever selling the shares.
Reportedly, Grover has been holding onto around INR 1,000 Cr worth of BharatPe shares for Koladiya, though none of the parties involved have confirmed or denied the figure.
The development comes a month after Grover alleged that Koladiya stole privileged information from BharatPe while building his new venture OTPLess.
In an email sent to the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), Grover alleged that Koladiya took the data of 150 Mn UPI users with him in the process.
Grover, Koladiya & Sequoia
The crux of the dispute between Bhavik Koladiya and Ashneer Grover lies in the fact that Koladiya was unable to hold shares in BharatPe after Sequoia India backed the startup, having been convicted of credit card fraud in the US and consequently deported in 2015.
When Grover joined the startup as a cofounder in 2018, Koladiya held a 42.5% stake in BharatPe. After Sequoia’s investment, Koladiya took a back seat at the company and led the tech vertical as a consultant.
The Sequoia investment also saw the cofounders and other stakeholders arriving at an arrangement and Koladiya transferring his stake in BharatPe to Grover, BharatPe cofounder Shashvat Nakrani and his father, and some early-stage and angel investors in December 2018.