BharatPe fires co-founder Ashneer Grover's wife Madhuri Jain: Report
Fintech company BharatPe has sacked Madhuri Jain—the company's controller and co-founder Ashneer Grover's wife—based on charges of misappropriation of funds, The Economic Times reported on Wednesday. However, the startup has not yet officially commented on Jain's firing. She had been under the radar since a preliminary investigation was launched by Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) over financial irregularities at the company.
- The action against Jain comes amid a sensational investigation into allegations of fraud and financial irregularities at BharatPe.
- The probe has reportedly linked Jain and several of her relatives to the alleged irregularities.
- Both Grover and Jain have been on leave of absence from the company since January.
- The couple also faces allegations of misconduct with a bank employee.
Jain, who has been in charge of BharatPe's finances since 2018, was reportedly handed a letter of immediate termination on Tuesday (February 22). The company has also canceled stock options vested with her. Jain had allegedly used company funds for buying personal beauty treatments and family trips to foreign countries, besides generating fake invoices from some parties.
"Ongoing probe has found misappropriation of funds during her (Jain's) time at BharatPe. Probe found she funded travel, skincare, and bought expensive electronics with company money. Probe found personal spends of (a) few crores on company money," sources in BharatPe told CNBC-TV18.
Meanwhile, Jain has leveled counter allegations against BharatPe chief executive officer Suhail Sameer, chairperson Rajnish Kumar, among others. She called the law firms Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Alvarez & Marsel as Kumar's "agents." "Congrats @SuhailSameer14 @BhavikKoladiya and Shashvat Nakrani. Now you may indulge in your 'drunken orgies' without having to wait for me (righteous lady) to leave office," she wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Grover has filed an emergency plea in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). He has sought the quashing of the investigation into financial irregularities at BharatPe. However, Grover and the company are expected to settle the issue out of court.
The investigation at BharatPe was launched in the aftermath of an audio clip controversy involving Grover. In the audio clip that had surfaced last month, he and his wife could be allegedly heard abusing an employee of the Kotak Mahindra Bank. Soon after the clip went viral, Grover had issued a statement on Twitter claiming it was fake. He, however, later deleted that tweet.
BharatPe—founded in 2018—offers financial services and products to more than 75 lakh merchants across 150 cities. It has so far raised over $650 million in equity and debt, and its investors include Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Steadfast Capital, among others.