September 20, 2023

BharatPe Co-Founder Ashneer Grover and Wife Accused in ₹81 Crore Embezzlement Case

Ashneer Grover, the co-founder of digital payments company BharatPe, has been named in a police complaint filed by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police for allegedly embezzling crores of rupees. The complaint accuses Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, family members, and others of various crimes involving fraud, forgery, cheating, and breach of trust.

The complaint was filed by BharatPe in December 2021, accusing Grover of stealing company money to fund a flamboyant lifestyle. The FIR, which includes eight counts of serious criminal offenses, was registered on Wednesday. Grover has denied any wrongdoing in the past, claiming that the charges stem from “personal hatred and low thinking.”

The FIR alleges that Grover and his family members engaged in sham transactions and embezzlement of ₹71.76 crore, including illegitimate payments of ₹7.6 crore to bogus consultants based on 86 false and forged invoices, inflated and undue payments through pass-through vendors connected to the accused persons, and input tax credit and payment of penalty to GST authorities of ₹1.66 crore.

Other accusations include making dishonest and illegal payments to travel agencies based on false and fabricated invoices, personal enrichment through reimbursements using self-created fake and forged invoices, and destruction of evidence by Madhuri Jain Grover.

If found guilty, the defendants could face life imprisonment. The FIR comes after a five-month investigation by Delhi Police, which BharatPe has welcomed as a step in the right direction. The company has promised to extend all cooperation to authorities in the investigation.

Grover had found himself in the midst of a scandal last year after he sought damages from bank boss Uday Kotak, alleging Kotak Mahindra Bank declined to finance a personal investment. The bank, in turn, alleged in legal documents that Grover used “foul” and threatening language towards its employees and reserved the right to take appropriate legal action against him.

He resigned last March after the board of BharatPe, which has become one of the country’s fastest-growing financial technology companies by allowing shop owners to take digital payments through QR codes, said it intended to commission an independent audit regarding his conduct.