Days After Viral Abuse Video, BharatPe Founder Goes On Long Leave

Co-founder and managing director of fintech company BharatPe, Ashneer Grover has taken voluntary leave till March-end

Days After Viral Abuse Video, BharatPe Founder Goes On Long Leave

BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover has proceeded on voluntary leave till March-end

Fintech company BharatPe's founder Ashneer Grover has taken voluntary leave till March-end, the company said today, days after an audio clip exposed a huge fight between Mr Grover and the Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Ashneer Grover told the company's board about his decision to go on leave, the company said in a statement.

"For now, 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," it said.

"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."

The statement added that in Mr Grover's absence, the company "will continue to be ably led by our CEO Suhail Sameer and our strong management team".

Mr Grover faced a massive controversy as the Kotak Mahindra bank alleged that he had used inappropriate language in a phone call to a Kotak Group employee.

An audio clip had surfaced on social media, in which a couple appeared to hurl abuses at a relationship manager from a bank.

Mr Grover, in a tweet he deleted later, had called it a fake audio by "some scamster trying to extort funds ($2,40,000 bitcoins)" and added that he "refused to buckle".

Mr Grover and his wife Madhuri had accused the bank of reneging on a promise to get him shares worth Rs 500 crore when Nykaa's IPO was launched. In October, Mr Grover had also sent a legal notice to Kotak Mahindra Bank.

On January 9, Kotak Mahindra Bank had said it is pursuing "legal action" against Mr Grover and his wife in connection with the call.

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 $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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