BharatPe’s former MD and co-founder Ashneer Grover has written a letter to the company’s board to audit all dealings of CEO Suhail Sameer and put him on an “immediate leave of absence” to manage the damage caused to the firm’s brand image.
This development comes on the heels of a Linkedin comment posted by Sameer in response to another comment by an account under the name of Aashima Grover. These comments were made under a post raising concerns about the non-payment of salaries and termination of old administrative staff.
Sameer had said, “Behen — tere bhai ne saara paisa chura liya (Sister, your brother has stolen all the money). Very little left to pay salaries”. However, he later apologised for his comment and said the company is working on paying the past employees’ full and final salaries.
Following this social media exchange, in an email sent to the BharatPe board at 12:33 am on April 8, Grover said, “Suhail’s reply is not only blatantly defamatory, but it is inappropriate language towards any female on social media and tone-deaf to the trials of a poor admin level employee seeking his dues.”
He added that Chairman Rajnish Kumar should immediately resign, as the current incident “clearly brings out the fact that Rajnish Kumar condoning the life threat to me by Bhavik Koladiya from his own house and all the planned media leaks leading to my resignation in self respect, has further emboldened the current management to act as hooligans.”
Moreover, Grover said that this incident proves that the Chairman refused to look into the allegations made against Suhail altogether, leading him to “believe he is above everything”.
The letter also highlighted BharatPe founder Shashvat Nakrani’s support to Sameer. “Shashvat’s refusal to withdraw Suhail’s nomination as a board member was bad judgment in light of his proven alcoholism and attitude towards women,” it said.
Grover said that Sameer’s comment is blatantly a public lie and admission of the company being bankrupt “by no less than its own CEO and member of the board”. “The same Suhail Sameer had less than a couple of months ago claimed more than $500 million in the bank account of the company,” he pointed out.
‘Despicable public behaviour’
The letter also questioned the board on what action it will take against Sameer. Grover attempted to draw parallels between his case and Sameer’s social media debacle — to say that the CEO should be immediately served a show-cause notice “for his despicable public behaviour and immediately put on a leave of absence to manage the damage to the brand of the company”.
The letter also claimed that Suhail was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he made the said Linkedin comment and he should be asked to prove otherwise. Further, he asked that all dealings of Sameer should be audited by an independent auditor and he should only be reinstated as CEO once the audit report has been tabled with the board and it exonerates him of any wrongdoing.
“Anything lesser in terms of action here would undeniably prove what is a fact — that what was done to me was a well planned discriminatory conspiracy by the board at the behest of investors, not a governance review,” Grover wrote.