The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has recently issued a notice to BharatPe, a fintech major in India, requesting information about legal proceedings initiated by the company against its former Managing Director, Ashneer Grover.
Ongoing Enquiry by the MCA:
The MCA's notice to BharatPe is part of an ongoing inquiry that dates back to 2022. The notice seeks additional information related to the inquiry, which was initiated following an internal governance review by BharatPe. The company spokesperson confirmed that the information is being requested about the audited results and that BharatPe is fully cooperating with the authorities.
Notice Issued Under Companies Act:
As per Moneycontrol's report, the notice issued by the MCA falls under Section 206 of the Companies Act. The MCA has specifically directed BharatPe to submit the evidence it has presented before the courts regarding the civil and criminal complaints against Ashneer Grover.
Background: Alleged Cheating and Forgery Case Against Grover
Last week, Ashneer Grover and his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover, approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the lookout circular (LOC) issued against them. The LOC was issued in connection with an alleged cheating and forgery case. The Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) is currently investigating the couple over alleged fake bank transfers amounting to INR 56 crore between 2019 and 2022. The total amount under scrutiny for possible dubious transactions is INR 81 crore.
Internal Governance Lapses and Resignation:
The issues between Ashneer Grover and BharatPe's senior leadership originated from an internal governance review conducted by the company in 2022. The review revealed several governance lapses internally. Following the investigation, Madhuri Jain Grover, who was the head of controls at the time, and Ashneer Grover resigned from their positions. This led to public disputes between Grover and BharatPe.
Criminal Complaint and FIR:
In response to the public spats, BharatPe filed a criminal complaint with the EOW of the Delhi Police against Ashneer Grover and his family. Subsequently, an FIR (First Information Report) was registered against the Grovers in May of the same year. The FIR included charges such as criminal breach of trust, forgery, cheating, and others. It also highlighted the alleged payment of commissions to dubious HR consultants connected to Madhuri Jain Grover's family members.
The MCA's notice to BharatPe regarding the evidence presented in courts related to the legal proceedings against Ashneer Grover signifies the ongoing inquiry into the matter. The alleged fraudulent activities and governance lapses have resulted in a public confrontation between Grover and BharatPe. The investigation and legal proceedings will unfold further as the authorities review the evidence and determine the outcome.