Fintech unicorn BharatPe has terminated the services of Madhuri Jain Grover, head of controls, on the allegations of financial irregularities and money siphoning, one person who is aware of the developments confirmed to Business Today. Jain was sent on a compulsory leave on January 20.
Jain had said that she didn’t tender any resignation and has shot a letter to BharatPe board questioning how the contents of preliminary findings of an ongoing corporate governance review were made public. BT has learned that the employee contract undersigned also has a provision wherein the company can take back the equity of the terminated employee.
Sources added that her husband and BharatPe co-founder and MD Ashneer Grover’s role may be limited to a shareholder in the company. "Additionally, the shareholding agreement between Grover and BharatPe includes an arbitration/settlement as and when a dispute arises, however his Rs 4,000 crore demand to exit the company is farfetched,” the top company official added.
Sources said that the board members have also raised concerns over the acquisition under Grover's leadership of brand loyalty platform Payback, a reported $30 million deal last year, due to concerns over conflict of interest and overvaluation, along with the expenses incurred by the firm over the past few years.
In an earlier letter shot to the BharatPe’s board, Jain said, “I have been treated in the most disrespectful manner by the board. If this is the manner in which the company treats its female employees, I have no interest in continuing to be associated, in any capacity, with it. I would have willingly resigned, but for the fact that the integrity of not only myself but also my family members has been viciously attacked in the crossfire of what is evidently a shareholders’ dispute. The governance review being undertaken is a roving enquiry tarnishing my reputation.”
This comes amid Grover having filed a plea before the Singapore International Arbitration Council (SIAC) seeking indemnity from any legal liabilities. In his plea, Grover had also expressed his intent to arrive at a settlement. The first hearing was held on February 20 .
The governance review report is expected to be put before the BharatPe board next week. The preliminary report by the risk advisory firm, Alvarez and Marsal engaged by BharatPe has found inconsistencies with recruitment and fake invoices which involved Madhuri Jain, and her brother Shwetank Jain. Jain has meanwhile questioned the ongoing governance review alleging that it is prejudiced, pre-meditated and biased.
Meanwhile emails/calls to BharatPe, Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain did not elicit any response.
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