In December 2022, BharatPe lodged a criminal complaint against Ashneer Grover, his wife, and her family members, alleging their involvement in a ₹81.28 crore fraud
BharatPe's co-founder and forner CEO Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain were stopped at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport after a lookout circular (LoC) was issued against the couple. They were headed to New York, as per a report by the Economic Times. The Delhi Police's Economic Offence Wing (EoW) had reported asked for the issuance of the LoC.
Delhi-based BharatPe had taken legal action against its co-founder Ashneer Grover and his family last year, seeking damages of Rs 88.67 crore, alleging that Grover and his family members created fictitious vendors in Panipat, raised fake invoices, and overcharged the fintech for recruitment services.
Additionally, the company has filed a criminal complaint against Grover and his family, including Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain, and Shwetank Jain, with the Delhi Police. It claimed damages for payments made against invoices of non-existent vendors, payments for purported recruitment services, and reputational damage caused by statements made by Grover and his family.
The civil complaint aimed to recover losses incurred by BharatPe due to the actions of Grover, his wife, and his family. The company accuses them of running a "vicious campaign" against BharatPe on social media, following which the court asked Grover to desist.
Furthermore, BharatPe filed a criminal complaint with the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police, alleging criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, cheating, forgery, and destruction of evidence. The investigation revealed that invoices linked to Grover's family were backdated, suggesting an attempt to siphon funds from BharatPe.
The allegations include the approval of payments to fake vendors for recruitment services, with the funds being redirected for personal gain. The civil suit details a complex web of fraudulent transactions, fake vendors, and misappropriation of company funds.
BharatPe also challenged Grover's contribution to the company's technology or concept, stating that his association began in 2018 with a minimal investment and questioning his role in the company's development.
The legal action comes amid a series of controversies involving BharatPe and its founder in 2022, including allegations of inappropriate behaviour and threats against a Kotak Group employee. While Grover took voluntary leave and later resigned, his wife, Madhuri Jain, was terminated over allegations of fund misappropriation. The legal proceedings shed light on the intricate issues surrounding BharatPe and its co-founder, marking a tumultuous period for the four-year-old company.
BharatPe incurred a substantial loss of Rs 5,594 crore in FY2022, marking an 89 per cent surge from the Rs 2,961 crore loss registered in the previous financial year. This financial shock was intensified by the immediate resignation of its CEO, Suhail Sameer in January 2023, which came after a series of departures by high-profile executives from the unicorn.
The company reported a 169 per cent increase in revenue, reaching Rs 321 crore in FY22 compared to Rs 119 crore in the preceding financial year. It attributed a substantial 85 per cent of the recorded loss to an accounting norm as it continued to navigate challenging times with a management shakedown amidst a funding winter.