Fintech unicorn BharatPe has appointed Alvarez and Marsal, a risk advisory firm to conduct an independent audit of the startup’s internal processes and systems shortly after cofounder Ashneer Grover took a leave of absence from the company following multiple controversies.
“The Board of BharatPe is committed to the highest standard of corporate governance at the company and is doing an independent audit of the company’s internal processes and systems,” said a statement from the company.
“BharatPe, through its legal firm, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas has appointed Alvarez and Marsal, a leading management consultant and risk advisory firm to advise the Board on its recommendations,” it added.
In one of our previous stories, we had highlighted the startup’s problem with corporate governance. While Grover and his wife were the talk of the town for the past few weeks amid the alleged audio leak, Bhavik Koladiya, a former cofounder of the company and current group head of product and technology, was convicted in a credit card fraud case in the US.
BharatPe’s problems with Grover came to a head when an audio clip of Grover allegedly threatening and verbally abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee during a telephone conversation went viral.
Grover can be heard issuing threats and abusing a Kotak Mahindra employee in the viral audio clip, supposedly because he and his wife weren’t allocated shares during Nykaa’s IPO. The bank employee was trying to placate the unicorn founder in the alleged audio.
“This is your last day, live your life. An encounter is going to happen to you. Your encounter will happen in front of your family,” the BharatPe cofounder can be heard saying, in an apparent reference to encounter killings by law enforcement
Ashneer Grover and his wife had reportedly filed for damages against potential gains they would have made from the Nykaa IPO if they were able to invest INR 500 Cr in it.
The authenticity of the clip was all but confirmed when Kotak Mahindra Bank released a statement in response that said, “This notice was received by us and was replied to appropriately at the time, including placing on record our objections to inappropriate language used by Mr. Grover,”. Later, SEBI had also asked Kotak Wealth to furnish details of the IPO financing debacle with Grover.
Recently, Ashneer also faced social media outrage over his comments to founders on Shark Tank India and an alleged spat with Sequoia’s Capital’s Harshjit Sethi and board members in August 2020.
Grover’s wife Madhuri Grover is the head of controls at the company, responsible for ensuring operational and financial standards and other internal compliance. According to a recent report, she has also gone on leave.
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