Delhi High Court Allows Ashneer Grover, Wife To Travel To US But Separately

While the couple intended to travel together to the US from May 26 to July 1, the court permitted them to go abroad separately.

Delhi High Court Allows Ashneer Grover, Wife To Travel To US But Separately

Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri sought permission to meet family in the US (File)

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court today allowed payment app BharatPe's former Managing Director Ashneer Grover and his wife, facing charges in a cheating and forgery case, to travel abroad after furnishing a surety of Rs 80 crore each.

While the couple intended to travel together to the US from May 26 to July 1, the court permitted them to go abroad separately.

On the suggestion of the petitioners' counsel, the court allowed Mr Grover to travel to the US from May 26 to June 12 and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover from June 12 to July 1.

Justice Subramonium Prasad said the couple should not extend the travel dates and must return to India on the said dates. He made it clear that any application for an extension of stay abroad will not be entertained.

The couple sought permission to travel to meet their extended family in the US and submitted that their son has been invited for a summer course - National Student Leadership Conference - at the University of California, Berkeley from June 17 to June 25.

Look Out Circulars (LOC) were issued against them at the instance of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in November last year in connection with the investigation of a cheating and forgery case.

The counsel for the EOW strongly objected to the pleas and raised strong objections to the present applications stating that if the petitioner and his wife are allowed to leave the country, there is a strong possibility that they will not return.

The petitioners' counsel suggested that to satisfy the investigating authorities the couple will not flee, instead of travelling together they may be permitted to go separately.

The high court, in its order, said, "The purpose of opening a Look Out Circular against a person is to ensure that the investigation is not thwarted. This court is inclined to consider the suggestion given by the counsel for the petitioners and is of the opinion that if one of the spouses remains in the country, the possibility of the other spouse not returning back is remote."

The court, which imposed several conditions on them, said the other spouse should not leave the country during the period when one of them is travelling abroad and should deposit the passport with the investigating authority till the other returns to India.

"The petitioner is directed to furnish a security for a sum of Rs 80 crore in the form of an FDR before the registrar of this court," Justice Prasad said in the separate but similar order passed on both petitions.

They are directed to deposit the original title deeds of the property in their respective names, the court said.

It added that the couple must furnish details of their itinerary during their stay abroad and deposit their Emirates ID issued by the United Arab Emirates Government to the court.

"In case any of the above conditions are violated, the security shall be forfeited to the State," it said.

In May last year, the EOW filed an FIR against Mr Grover, his wife Madhuri, and others under eight sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467 and 468 (forgery), and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) for an alleged Rs 81-crore fraud after a complaint by fintech unicorn BharatPe.

BharatPe in the complaint alleged that Ashneer Grover and family caused damages of about Rs 81.3 crore through illegitimate payments to bogus human resource consultants, inflated and undue payments through pass-through vendors connected to the accused, sham transactions in input tax credit and payment of penalty to GST authorities, illegal payment to travel agencies, forged invoices by Madhuri and destruction of evidence.

Madhuri Grover was the head of controls at BharatPe and was fired in 2022 after a forensic audit revealed several irregularities. Subsequently, Mr Grover resigned as CEO in March 2022.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)