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Ashneer Grover out of BharatPe, restricted shares to be clawed back

Ashneer Grover, the embattled and controversial founder of fintech BharatPe

Ashneer Grover out of BharatPe, restricted shares to be clawed back
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Ashneer Grover, the embattled and controversial founder of fintech BharatPe, and his family have been found guilty of misappropriating company funds, per a statement released by the firm's board on March 2, opening up a fresh battlefront between the two sides

The statement said that as a result of his misdeeds, Grover is no longer an employee, a founder, or a director of the company, adding that the company reserves the right to take legal action.

While the company did not comment on the action it intends to take, sources privy to the development said Grover is likely to lose out around 1.4% of his total restricted shares which could be clawed back by the board.

The statement by BharatPe, which came after a board meeting that lasted over 3 hours, said: "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."

In a serious charge against Ashneer Grover, the statement read, "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."

"The company reserves all rights to take further legal action against him and his family," it said, an indicator of a bitter legal fight ahead between the two sides.

"As a result of his misdeeds, Mr. Grover is no longer an employee, a founder, or a director of the company," effectively showing him the door.

It further said that the Board is taking all necessary steps to further strengthen the company's corporate governance, including the appointment of an audit committee, an internal auditor, and the implementation of other key internal controls.

The board, led by former SBI chairman and veteran banker Rajnish Kumar, met to table the final report of a governance review by independent consultant PwC on March 1. It came nearly 24 hours after Grover resigned from the company, claiming he was vilified.

Grover, who was helming one of India's youngest companies, said he will look at founders who have had the 'courage to build businesses with 100 percent ownership'. Grover holds a 9.5 percent stake in BharatPe.

Grover's resignation also came close on the heels of the termination of his wife from the post of BharatPe's Head of Controls. In a two-page resignation letter, Grover alleged that he and his family have been embroiled in baseless targeted attacks.

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