Ashneer Grover, BharatPe’s founder, and former MD has addressed a letter to the startup’s board of directors, requesting an apology from CEO Suhail Sameer for comments made on LinkedIn against his sister Ashima Grover, as well as resignation as Chairman.
This follows an exchange of words on a LinkedIn post by a BharatPe employee who claimed that he and other employees were not paid for the month of March, prompting Grover and his sister to respond. Sameer responded to one of Ashima Grover’s comments by saying that her brother stole all the money and that they have very little money left to pay salaries.
Ashneer Grover wrote in a letter addressed to the board,
“As a Board which under the Chairmanship of Rajnish Kumar has claimed to be the epitome of corporate governance, I would want to ask what action is the Board going to take against Suhail Sameer ? Going by precedents and self proclaimed high standards of this Board, the CEO should be immediately served a show cause notice for his despicable public behaviour and immediately put on leave of absence to manage the damage on the Brand of the company.”
Hashjit Sethi of Sequoia Capital, Micky Malka of Ribbit Capital, Teruhide Sato of BEENEXT, John Weinstein and Deven Parekh of Insight Partners, Rahul Kishore of Coatue Management, and Kumar, Sameer, and co-founder Shahshvat Nakrani were among the investors who received the letter.
Grover also used this opportunity to demand that former SBI Chairman and seasoned banker Rajnish Kumar be prosecuted.
Grover also stated that if Sameer did not issue a written apology to him and his sister, they would seek damages and file a criminal defamation suit against both Sameer and the BharatPe Board.
This was one of many verbal spats that preceded and followed Grover’s acrimonious departure from the company. Grover and his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover, left the company after governance audits by Alvarez & Marsal and PwC revealed charges of abuse of funds.
Grover and his wife have often claimed that their dismissal from the company was unjustified, blaming CEO Sameer and Chairman Kumar.
Sameer later apologised for his comment to Ashima Grover on the post, stating his response was “out of line.” He went on to say that the corporation was working on paying employees on their notice period the full and final payout.
“My comment was a reaction to a particular statement, not the post. But I accept the mistake. I request you to also have patience, and refrain from building a story based on false narrative,” Sameer remarked.