BharatPe Co-Founder Ashneer Grover Goes On Voluntary Leave

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Ashneer Grover, co-founder and managing director at BharatPe, will go on voluntary leave till March-end.

Grover’s decision has been accepted by the payments company’s board, according to a statement on Wednesday.

“For now, the board has accepted Ashneer’s decision which we agree is in the best interests of the company, our employees and investors, and the millions of merchants we support each day,” the report said.

BharatPe’s key investors include BEENEXT, Sequoia Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital Management, Ribbit Capital, Coatue Management, among others.

Grover’s decision is a fallout of a voice recording of his phone call with a Kotak Mahindra Bank relationship manager going viral on social media. Grover had allegedly threatened the bank employee.

Grover initially termed the voice recording as “fake”. It was later revealed that he sent a legal notice to Kotak Mahindra Bank in October for failing to provide adequate financing during the initial public offering of FSN E-Commerce Ventures Ltd.—the parent of beauty products retailer Nykaa.

Lack of financing had resulted in Grover not being able to participate in Nykaa IPO, leading to notional losses to him and his family, which the bank must repay, the legal notice said.

Kotak Mahindra Bank, in a response to the notice, claimed there was no breach or violation by the lender. The bank, in a statement, also placed on record its objections against Grover’s language against its employee. The private lender had said it would seek legal recourse for Grover’s behaviour.

BharatPe is an equity partner in Unity Small Finance Bank, along with Centrum Group. The Reserve Bank of India had provided a licence to Centrum Group to set up the small finance bank as part of a rescue effort for Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank. (Bloomberg Quint)