Former BharatPe CEO Ashneer Grover, Wife Prevented From Leaving India By Delhi Police

Even as BharatPe founder and CEO Ashneer Grover is stridently maintaining his innocence on social media platforms, the Delhi Police seems to be a lot more circumspect about his claims.

Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain were prevented from leaving India by the Delhi Police, Indian Express reports. The duo had sought permission from the police to deliver guest lectures in the UK at the London School and Economics and in Warwick University. The police however rejected the application citing an ongoing investigation into financial misconduct.

Grover and his wife had sent an application to the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing investigation officer to travel abroad in the last ween of February. They had planned to travel from 9th March to 15th March. This permission was however denied.

Grover did not directly comment on the issue. “Correspondence between me and EOW is confidential and as per court’s directives… I will continue to cooperate with police in this open-and-shut case and keep winning in Court. I’ve not got any correspondence regarding the travel permission (which is a confidential correspondence) as yet from EOW,” he told the Indian Express.

This isn’t the first time that the couple has been stopped from leaving India. In November last year, they had been stopped by an immigration officer at Delhi airport while attempting to fly to New York on the basis of a lookout circular (LoC) issued by the Enforcement Directorate against them. A LoC is a circular letter used by authorities to check whether a travelling person is wanted by the law enforcement agencies. A person against whom a LoC is issued cannot travel outside the country.

Ashneer Grover and his wife, who was also the “Director of Controls” at BharatPe, are accused of embezzling over Rs. 80 crore from the company they’d themselves founded. BharatPe has alleged that Ashneer Grover and his family misappropriated Rs. 72 crore from the company through fake invoices made in the name of non-existent vendors. BharatPe had also alleged that Grover and his family created fake recruitment firms which billed BharatPe for finding them candidates that were hired by the company. BharatPe had also alleged that Grover had given the contract to redesign the company office to his wife’s own interior design firm Mauve and Brown (M&B) for Rs. 1.85 crore, in violation of internal controls, by arranging for fictitious quotes from “competitors”.

In June last year, the EOW registered an FIR against the couple and some other family members for alleged misappropriation of funds and causing losses worth Rs. 81 crore to BharatPe. The FIR had been under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

While the case has been ongoing in the courts, Ashneer Grover and has wife have now been prevented twice from leaving the country. The Delhi Police appears to have acted with alacrity on the issue — over the last decade, several economic defaulters including Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had all fled India while owing thousands of crores to Indian creditors, and efforts are still on to repatriate them. With Ashneer Grover and his wife now decisively being prevented from leaving India, the police seems to be ensuring that the duo will face the full extent of the law before they they make it to foreign shores.