Ashneer Grover might’ve yesterday resigned from BharatPe, but the company seems to be in no mood to let the matter end there.
BharatPe has officially fired Ashneer Grover as an employee, a founder and a director. The decision came after the results of a probe into Grover’s conduct was presented before the board. The probe found that Grover and his family — his wife was the Director of Controls at the company before she was fired last week — misappropriated large amounts of funds from BharatPe.
“The Grover family and their relatives engaged in extensive misappropriation of company funds, including, but not limited to, creating fake vendors through which they siphoned money away from the company’s expense account and grossly abused company expense accounts in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles,” BharatPe said in a statement. BharatPe said that it would consider legal action against Grover. “The company reserves all rights to take further legal action against him and his family,” the statement added.
“As a result of his misdeeds, Mr. Grover is no longer an employee, a founder, or a director of the company,” BharatPe said.
BharatPe also alleged that Grover had hurriedly resigned last night after learning that the findings of the inquiry would be presented to the board. “Minutes after Mr. Ashneer Grover received notice that some of the results of the inquiry would be presented to the Board, he quickly shirked responsibility by sending an email to the Board submitting his resignation and fabricating another false narrative of the events to the public,” BharatPe said.
Ashneer Grover had resigned after midnight on Monday, and had launched a tirade against the company’s investors. He’d gone on to claim that BharatPe’s investors were out of touch with reality, and treated founders as “slaves”.
But the latest sequence of events does make it likely that Grover had indeed misappropriated funds through fake invoices — had BharatPe’s allegations been fake, Grover could’ve taken on the board in courts, but he instead chose to resign a day before he was formally fired. India’s startup ecosystem has been thought to be cleaner and better-managed than the country’s family-owned MSME businesses, but for a celebrated IIT-IIM founder to steal money from his own company could have a chilling effect through the entire fledgling ecosystem as a whole.