Controversy hit fintech unicorn BharatPe has terminated services of several employees in departments who were directly involved with vendors and had been found involved in raising incorrect or inflated invoices. The company will also initiate legal and criminal proceedings against these vendors who have been identified and blocked, BharatPe said in a statement. BharatPe will also claw back the restricted shares of its ex-Managing Director and co-founder, Ashneer Grover. The company further said that if required, it will be filing criminal cases against some of the terminated employees for the misconduct and act of cheating committed by them against the company.
Business Today reached out to BharatPe regarding the number of employees who have been terminated and their functionalities as well as the percentage of shares clawed back from Grover. The company, however, said that they have no information to share on these questions at the moment. Sources privy to the development, however, said that as a result of BharatPe’s move, Grover’s stake may be diluted to 7.1 per cent from 8.5 per cent.
“The company has initiated necessary action against the former Founder to claw back his restricted shares as per the shareholders' agreement. It will take all steps to enforce its right under the law,” the company said in a statement.
BT has reached out to Grover for a comment. The story will be updated as and when he responds.
Grover had sent his resignation to BharatPe on March 1 after he was sent on a compulsory leave in January over allegations of his involvement in financial irregularities and corporate misgovernance involving his wife and ex-head controls at Bharat Pe, Madhuri Jain Grover, who was also suspended from the firm.
BharatPe, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that the corporate governance review, which was ordered in January 2022, to investigate the above allegations has been completed. The company had appointed risk consultancy firm, Alvarez and Marsel, legal firm Shardul Amarchand Mnagaldas & Co and accounting firm, PwC to conduct corporate governance review and determine willful misconduct and gross negligence by Grover.
The company said that it has put into place a new code of conduct which will be applicable senior management and employees and that has now been implemented. The code of conduct inter-alia deals with the conflict of interest and other issues that will help to strengthen overall governance in the company.
After a detailed review of the above report over the last two months, the board of BharatPe has recommended several decisive measures that are being implemented. Besides, a comprehensive Vendor Procurement Policy has also been developed to ensure that a robust mechanism is in place for on-boarding and engaging with vendors and mitigate any risk of employees indulging in suspicious transactions to enrich themselves, BharatPe added.
“Many vendors involved in malpractices, such as incorrect or inflated invoices, have been blocked for further business with the company. These vendors were also identified during the GST Enquiry. The company has already issued legal notices to these vendors to recover the amount and will be filing civil/criminal cases against them in the coming days,” the fintech firm further said.
BharatPe has also made key appointments, including a full-time Chief Human Resources Officer and an interim CFO and said that it is in the process of finalising the candidate for the role of a full-time CFO which the firm will announce in the current quarter.
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