This Article is From May 11, 2023

Ashneer Grover's Cryptic Tweet After Rs 81-Crore Fraud Case

The FIR, which includes eight counts of serious criminal offences, was registered a day ago based on a criminal complaint filed by his former company BharatPe.

Ashneer Grover resigned from BharatPe last year.

New Delhi:

Ashneer Grover, the co-founder of digital payments company BharatPe whose bitter feud with the company led to headlines about the unravelling of a "start-up king" last year, has been named in a police complaint for embezzling crores of rupees.

The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police has filed a first information report (FIR) against Mr Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, family members, and others for allegedly committing various crimes involving fraud, forgery, cheating and breach of trust.

The FIR, which includes eight counts of serious criminal offences, was registered on Wednesday based on a criminal complaint filed by BharatPe in December, which accused him of stealing company money to fund a flamboyant lifestyle.

Mr Grover, who has since floated a fantasy sports app called CrickPe and shaped his career with abrasive appearances on podcasts and reality television shows, is yet to comment on the charges. In the past, he has denied any wrongdoing.

Alleging the charges stem from "personal hatred and low thinking", he had said, "The only thing lavish about me is my dreams and ability to achieve them against all odds through hard work and enterprise."

On Thursday, Mr Grover posted a cryptic tweet after the charges were announced.

The FIR accuses Ashneer Grover and others of criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating, dishonesty, and forgery. If found guilty, they could face life imprisonment.

The filing comes after a five-month investigation by Delhi Police, which BharatPe has welcomed as a step in the right direction.

BharatPe stated that the FIR would enable agencies to investigate deeper into the scandal and help bring those responsible to justice. The company has promised to extend all cooperation to authorities in the investigation.

According to the FIR, Ashneer Grover and his family members engaged in sham transactions and embezzlement of Rs 71.76 crore. Other allegations include illegitimate payments of Rs 7.6 crore to bogus consultants based on 86 false and forged invoices, inflated and undue payments through pass-through vendors connected to the accused persons, and input tax credit and payment of penalty to GST authorities of Rs 1.66 crore.

The FIR also accuses the defendants of making dishonest and illegal payments to travel agencies based on false and fabricated invoices, personal enrichment through reimbursements using self-created fake and forged invoices, and destruction of evidence by Madhuri Jain Grover.

Mr Grover had found himself in the midst of the scandal last year after he sought damages from bank boss Uday Kotak, alleging Kotak Mahindra Bank declined to finance a personal investment.

The bank in turn alleged in legal documents that Mr Grover used "foul" and threatening language towards its employees and reserved the right to take appropriate legal action against him.

He resigned last March after the board of BharatPe, which because one of the country's fastest-growing financial technology companies by allowing shop owners to take digital payments through QR codes, said it intended to commission an independent audit regarding his conduct.