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With Board Investigation Underway, Ashneer Grover To Hire Legal Firm To Protect Shareholding In BharatPe

With Board Investigation Underway, Ashneer Grover To Hire Legal Firm To Protect Shareholding In BharatPe

Grover has reportedly hired law firm Karanjawala & Co. to ‘safeguard his position and keep his shareholding intact in case of being ousted from the company

Grover owns 9.5% of BharatPe, other majority stakeholders include Sequoia Capital with a 19.6% stake, Coatue (12.4%), Ribbit Capital (11%), Beenext (9.6%), among others

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

BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover has been surrounded by controversies since the beginning of 2022. Amid the controversies, this time, Grover has reportedly hired Delhi NCR-based law firm Karanjawala & Co.

He is looking to ‘safeguard his position and keep his shareholding (9.5%) intact in the fintech startup’, an ET report quoted. The report added that Grover is gearing up for any eventuality, including being ousted from the company.

The move comes shortly after BharatPe appointed Alvarez & Marsal, a risk advisory firm to conduct an independent audit of the startup’s internal processes and systems. It was a follow-up after 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.

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.

It is noteworthy that while Grover owns 9.5% of BharatPe, other majority stakeholders include Sequoia Capital with a 19.6% stake, Coatue (12.4%), Ribbit Capital (11%), Beenext (9.6%), among others.

Recently, Ashneer also faced social media outrage over his comments on Shark Tank India founders and an alleged spat with Sequoia’s Capital’s Harshjit Sethi and board members in August 2020.

BharatPe Vs Ashneer Grover Vs Kotak Bank

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.

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.