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Delhi High Court Orders Fast Track Trial OfBharatPe Founder Shashvat Nakrani's Suit Against Ex-MD Ashneer Grover Over Unpaid Shares

The court's decision to expedite the trial process comes amidst conflicting claims by both parties, underpinning the contentious ownership dispute within the fintech unicorn

Delhi High Court Orders Fast Track Trial OfBharatPe Founder Shashvat Nakrani's Suit Against Ex-MD Ashneer Grover Over Unpaid Shares
Ashneer Grover
POSTED ON February 23, 2024 2:12 PM

The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of an appeal by BharatPe's co-founder Shashvat Nakrani against a single-judge decision pertained to the rejection of a restraining order against the fintech’s former co-founder and managing director, Ashneer Grover. This was regarding a case about 2447 unpaid shares valued at Rs 10 apiece, which Grover had reportedly purchased from Nakrani, at a total price of Rs 24, 470. 

Nakrani claimed that Grover's claim of paying for the shares in cash is false and that he has not yet paid for the 2,447 shares, with each share valued at about Rs 4 lakh. 

Justice Sachin Datta of the Delhi High Court had previously denied Nakrani's interim application on December 15, 2023, which sought to prevent Grover from transferring or creating third-party rights in the unpaid shares and had allowed him to sell or transfer the shares but after informing the court and Nakrani of the same.  

While the Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Amit Bansal did not intervene with the single-judge ruling, they expedited the trial of Nakrani's case.   

Following the order, in a now-deleted tweet, Ashneer Grover had claimed that the judgment was in his favour, and it had been upheld again by the opposite party (Shashvat Nakrani) and that BharatPe’s shares worth Rs. 1,800 croreare his.  

The tweet read, “Reasons for judgement coming in my favour 1) The truth and facts were on his side, 2) Conduct befitting the facts 3) Patience and 4) Giri Subramaniam- hot shot lawyer with conviction and confidence to hold his own against formidable senior lawyers like Mr. Rohatgi. What fun!” 

Interestingly, the tweet was deleted minutes later and Shashvat Nakrani, founder and COO of BharatPe stated that the court has not given any relief to either of the involved parties, thus refuting Grover’s claim.  

“In light of recent developments in the Delhi High Court, the judge has disposed of the appeal and granted relief by expediting the trial process. This trial is set to conclude within 8 weeks, and all questions of law have been left open with the consensus of both parties involved. My team and I are prepared to reargue all points presented after trial and stake again legal claim for return of shares once the truth comes out,” he said iterating his confidence in the judiciary system.  

The court had earlier instructed Grover to inform Nakrani if he chooses to sell the shares. This decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by Nakrani, who alleged that Grover did not compensate him for the shares he sold and is seeking their return.  

BharatPe was established in March 2018 by Nakrani and Bhavik Koladiya, with each holding a 50 per cent stake. Grover later joined as a third co-founder and board member, purchasing 3,192 shares—2,447 from Nakrani and 745 from Koladiya—at Rs 10 per share in July of the same year. 

According a report by Mint, following the share transfer, BharatPe's ownership structure shifted, with Koladiya holding 42.5 percent, Grover holding 31.9 percent, and Nakrani holding 25.5 percent of the shares. Under the agreement, Grover was obligated to pay Rs 24,470 to Nakrani and Rs 7,450 to Koladiya. Additionally, Koladiya had filed a lawsuit against Grover in the Delhi High Court. 

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