BharatPe Founder's Wife Also Goes On Leave Amid Company Conducting Independent Audit

About a week after BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover went on leave, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover - who is also working with the company - has followed suit.
Ashneer Grover Bharat Pe's Founder
Ashneer Grover Bharat Pe's Founder

New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) About a week after BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover went on leave, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover - who is also working with the company - has followed suit as the firm undertakes an independent audit of its internal processes and systems.

According to sources, Madhuri - who is the Head of Controls - has gone on leave, and with the company undertaking an independent audit, there could be governance-related issues at BharatPe that could now come to the fore.

When contacted, BharatPe in a statement said the board is committed to the highest standard of corporate governance at the company and "is doing an independent audit of the company's internal processes and systems". "BharatPe, through its legal firm, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas has appointed Alvarez and Marsal, a leading management consultant and risk advisory firm to advise the Board on its recommendations. The Board strongly believes in protecting interests of all stakeholders, including customers, employees and partners," the statement said.

BharatPe did not comment on Madhuri's exit. On January 19, BharatPe co-founder and Managing Director Ashneer Grover had said he was taking a voluntary leave till March.

Earlier this month, an audio clip surfaced on social media with claims of Grover abusing and threatening a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee for missing out on share allotment during the initial public offering (IPO) of FSN E-Commerce Ventures, which operates online fashion and wellness company Nykaa. Grover was quick to deny the clip, saying it was "fake" and was put out by a "scamster" but he subsequently deleted the post. It later emerged that he and his wife Madhuri had in October 2021 sent a legal notice to Kotak for failure to provide financing for the Nykaa IPO.

On January 9, the Mumbai-based lender had responded saying it will take legal action against Grover. Kotak Mahindra Bank had acknowledged that the couple had in October sent a legal notice to it, without elaborating on the reasons for the same. Sources said conducting an independent audit is not only on account of the legal notice, and probably indicates that the scope of investigation has expanded. They added that the audit includes areas like accounting, expenses and hiring practices.

BharatPe serves over 75 lakh merchants across 150 cities. The company has already facilitated the disbursement of loans totalling over Rs 3,000 crore to its merchants since its launch. BharatPe has raised over USD 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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