Economics Offences Wing (EOW) has registered an FIR against BharatPe’s former MD Ashneer Grover, his wife and BharatPe’s head of controls Madhuri (Jain) Grover along with three other family members. 

Others accused in the FIR are Deepak Gupta, former Head of Procurement at BharatPe and Ashneer’s brother, Madhuri’s brother Shwetank Jain and father Suresh Jain. The FIR has been registered on eight counts of serious cognizable criminal offences and if convicted, Grover and Madhuri and others can face up to anything between ten years to life imprisonment. EOW now has the power to arrest all the accused.

The accusations made by BharatPe include ₹7.6 crore illegitimate payments to bogus HR consultants (having nexus with the accused) on the basis of eighty-six (86) false and forged invoices, inflated and undue payments through passthrough vendors connected to the accused persons to the detriment of BharatPe.

Further, the fintech company has also accused its former MD and Head of controls of sham transactions and embezzlement of ₹ 71.76 crore, dishonest and illegal payments to travel agencies basis false and fabricated invoices for services already availed from genuine providers, destruction of evidence and personal enrichment through reimbursements by Madhuri Jain Grover using self-created fake and forged invoices.

The FIR has been registered on eight counts of serious cognizable criminal offences under section 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 408 (criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), and 20B (punishment of criminal conspiracy).

BharatPe’s reaction

Commenting on the development, a BharatPe spokesperson said, “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. MZM Legal is advising us (BharatPe) on the criminal case,” the spokesperson added. 

Messages sent to Ashneer Grover by businessline remain unanswered till the time of press.

Criminal case

BharatPe has also filed a criminal case against Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain and their three other family members, seeking ₹88.6 crore in damages. The company alleged that it incurred a monetary loss of ₹83 crore because of the misappropriation of funds by Grover and his family and has sought another ₹5 crore for the loss and injury caused to the brand and applicable taxes.

Earlier this year, BharatPe’s two co-founder Shashvat Nakrani and Bhavik Koladiya have also sued Ashneer Grover, over a shares dispute in separate lawsuits. In February 2022, Madhuri Jain was fired from her post after the company discovered financial irregularities. Later in March, Ashneer Grover, too, quit the firm after months of scuffling with the board. Close on the heels, the company removed him from the post of co-founder and managing director alleging misappropriation of funds.

Grover has since started a new fantasy cricket company called CrickPe (Third Unicorn Private Ltd). The app seeks to reward cricketers from the total money pot of game along with the players. Launching the app in March 2023, Grover said, “Cricketers get paid for performance—not ads. 10 per cent pot split in ratio of points earned by each of the 22 players. Every match.” Grover has reportedly raised $4 million in seed funding for his new venture and has promised employees a Mercedes Benz car if they work at the start-up for 5 years.