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BharatPe co-founder and Managing Director Ashneer Grover to go on voluntary leave of absence amid turmoil, according to a company statement.

The development comes amid an ongoing tussle between Grover and his wife, and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

"Ashneer Grover has informed the board of his decision to take voluntary leave of absence from BharatPe till March-end," the company said.

"Ashneer has co-built BharatPe from scratch and his decision is consistent with his passionate commitment to the future succsess of the company," the fintech company further said.

"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," it added

BharatPe said the company will be ably led by its CEO Suhail Sameer and the strong management team.

The dispute between Ashneer Grover and Kotak Mahindra Bank over IPO financing escalated sharply, with the bank’s wealth management unit pledging to pursue legal action over Grover’s use of abusive language and threats.

On January 9, Kotak Mahindra Bank had said it is pursuing "legal action" against Grover and his wife Madhuri in connection with the abusive call matter.

The lender acknowledged that the couple had on October 30 sent a legal notice to it, without elaborating on the reasons for the same.

In a viral clip that emerged online, Grover can allegedly be heard abusing and threatening to get the Kotak employee killed in a so-called police encounter for his failure to secure funding for buying shares in the Nykaa IPO.

After the audio clip became public, Grover put out a statement on Twitter, claiming that the clip was fake. “Folks. Chill! It’s a FAKE audio by some scamster trying to extort funds (US$ 240K in bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I’ve got more character. And Internet has got enough scamsters," Grover said on Twitter. He subsequently deleted the denial from Twitter and LinkedIn.

BharatPe serves over 75 lakh merchants across 150 cities. The company has already facilitated the disbursement of loans totalling over 3,000 crore to its merchants since its launch. BharatPe has raised over $650 million in equity and debt to date.

Its investors include Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadfast Capital, Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital and others.

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