Economic Offences Wing registers FIR against BharatPe ex-boss Grover

The FIR was registered against Ashneer Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover and family members, including Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain and Shwetank Jain
The FIR was registered against Ashneer Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover and family members, including Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain and Shwetank Jain

Summary

Grover and family members accused of committing a 81.28 crore fraud by BharatPe

Five months after fintech unicorn BharatPe filed a criminal complaint against former managing director Ashneer Grover, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police on Wednesday registered a first information report (FIR) against Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover and family members, including Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain and Shwetank Jain.

An FIR was registered under eight sections of cognizable criminal offences, including Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant or by banker, merchant or agent), Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), Section 467 (forgery of valuable security, will etc.) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy).

“The complaint was received at EOW, and enquiry was conducted into the allegations levelled against the accused persons. From the contents of the complaint and the enquiry conducted so far, prima facie offences punishable under Sections 406/408/409/420/467/468/471/120B IPC (Indian penal code) are made out," according to the FIR copy seen by Mint.

On 7 December, BharatPe filed a criminal complaint with the deputy commissioner of police, accusing Grover and family of committing a 81.28 crore fraud. The charges were on 17 counts, including criminal breach of trust; criminal conspiracy; cheating and dishonesty; forgery for the purpose of cheating; forgery of valuable security, will etc. In its complaint, BharatPe alleged financial discrepancies and irregularities in recruitment and hiring third-party vendors, which it called “serious cognizable offences."

The complaint said Grover and his wife “were the masterminds, main perpetrators and ultimate beneficiaries of the serious offences committed against the company." Madhuri Jain’s brother Shwetank Jain and her father, Suresh Jain, were accused as “key co-conspirators instrumental, inter alia, in preparation of forged, false and fabricated invoices in the name of fake vendors/services/supplies causing undue losses to the company."

A person accused of these offences, if convicted, could face a prison term of nearly 10 years or life imprisonment.

“We welcome the registration of an FIR by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police in the company’s complaint in relation to the criminal offences by Mr Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain and other family members. For the last 15 months, the company has been facing a vicious and malicious campaign run by Grover against the company, the board and its employees. The registration of the FIR is a step in the right direction which unearths various suspicious transactions made by the family for their personal pecuniary gains. This FIR will now enable law enforcement agencies to investigate deeper into criminality and bring the culprits to books. We have full faith in our country’s judicial and law enforcement systems and are optimistic that this case will reach its logical conclusion. We will continue to extend all possible cooperation to the authorities," BharatPe said in its statement.

Grover did not respond to a request for comment.

MZM Legal LLP is advising BharatPe on the criminal complaint.

“After a detailed complaint was filed with the EOW, a thorough inquiry was conducted with voluminous documents on record. We are glad that cognizance has been taken and an FIR is now registered against Ashneer, his wife and others," Zulfiquar Memon, managing partner, MZM Legal said in a statement.

In the past six months, Grover has been the subject of five lawsuits. He has been embroiled in a legal battle with BharatPe after allegations of financial irregularities surfaced in January 2022. In March last year, Grover was terminated from the company.

In December, BharatPe also filed a civil suit with the Delhi High Court seeking recovery of over 88.67 crore in damages from Grover and his family under various heads. Law firm Trilegal is representing BharatPe in the civil suit filed in the high court.

In January this year, BharatPe founder Bhavik Koladiya also filed a lawsuit against Ashneer Grover in the Delhi High Court, seeking to reclaim shares transferred to Grover. Last month, the company’s other co-founder Shashvat Nakrani sued Grover in Delhi HC over “unpaid shares."

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