Embroiled in what seemingly is becoming an unremitting controversy and facing criticism from all quarters in BharatPe, Ashneer Grover, its adversarial co-founder, has tendered his resignation. In a letter addressed to the board, Grover writes, “I hereby resign as the managing director of BharatPe, effective immediately. I also resign as a director of the board. I will continue as the single largest individual shareholder of the company.” The resignation comes after BharatPe terminated the services of Madhuri Jain Grover, Ashneer’s wife and the head of controls at the fintech unicorn, on grounds of misappropriation of funds.

The fintech company has also acknowledged the development. In a statement, a BharatPe spokesperson says, “Ashneer Grover resigned as managing director and board director of BharatPe minutes after receiving the agenda for upcoming board meeting that included submission of the PwC report regarding his conduct and considering actions based on it. The board reserves the right to take action based on the report’s findings.”

Grover, who has a reputation of not mincing words, charged at the board of BharatPe in a long, scathing letter. “I write this with a heavy heart as today I am being forced to bid adieu to a company of which I am a founder,” he writes, adding that he has been embroiled in “baseless and targeted attacks on me and my family by a few individuals who are ready not only to harm me and my reputation but also harm the reputation of the company, which ostensibly they are trying to protect.” He also alleges that the investors are “so far removed from reality that you’ve forgotten what real businesses look like and have no appreciation for what it took to run this enterprise day in and day out.”

The boardroom of BharatPe has been the centre of controversy and scandal for the better part of 2022. The trouble started brewing for Grover when voice recordings of him purportedly hurling expletives at a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee for failing to secure funds that he intended to invest in the Nykaa IPO. Since the altercation, skeletons have intermittently tumbled out of the closet, shedding light on concerns over governance and due diligence at the company.

Amidst allegations that began surfacing when company started a governance review, Grover, who went on a hiatus amicably, has openly revealed that CEO Suhail Sameer colluded with BharatPe’s investors and manipulated him into taking a hiatus. He went on to write to the company, seeking his removal from the company. Grover has also said laconically that he will exit from BharatPe if he’s paid ₹4,000 crore for his 9.5% stake, and is reportedly in talks to sell the stake to an investor.

Grover reportedly has also hired Karanjawala, a New-Delhi-based law firm. Before his resignation, his emergency arbitration plea — which challenged the legality of the internal review — was rejected by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). The emergency arbitrator reportedly rejected all the five grounds of his appeal and denied a single relief, holding that there was no ground to stop governance review at the fintech firm.

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