New Delhi: Fintech firm BharatPe on Wednesday said its co-founder and MD Ashneer Grover has decided to take a voluntary leave of absence from BharatPe till March-end. The development comes amid an ongoing tussle between Grover and his wife, and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
While BharatPe did not specify a reason for Grover’s decision, it said the co-founder had on Wednesday informed the Board of his decision to take a voluntary leave of absence from BharatPe till March-end.
“Ashneer has co-built BharatPe from scratch and his decision is consistent with his passionate commitment to the future success of the company. 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,” BharatPe said in a statement.
It added that the company will continue to be led by its CEO Suhail Sameer and its management team.
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.
According to media reports, the couple had accused the bank of failing to secure finance and allocation of shares in the Nykaa initial public offer (IPO) and sought Rs 500 crore in damages.
An audio clip had surfaced on social media where a couple is purportedly speaking to what appears to be a relationship manager from a bank. The male voice hurls abuses and the other male voice is heard pacifying him. It was speculated that it is the Grover couple in the viral clip, and Ashneer Grover denied the same calling the tape “fake”.
Grover had said it’s fake audio by “some scamster trying to extort funds (USD 2,40,000 bitcoins)” and added that he “refused to buckle”.
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.