Fraud Case Against Ashneer Grover: FIR against BharatPe ex-MD Ashneer Grover, wife over alleged Rs 81cr fraud

Delhi Police’s Economic Crimes Wing (EOW) has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Ashneer Grover, former managing director of BharatPe, his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, and other family members in the BharatPe complaint. The New Delhi-based fintech giant has accused Grover and his family of defrauding it of up to ₹81.28 crore. The EOW now has the authority to arrest all of the accused.

If convicted, Grover and his family could face up to 10 years in prison.

Other members of the Grover family against whom EOW has registered FIR include Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain, and Chwetanak Jain.

The FIR was registered on eight counts of recognizable serious criminal offences. They relate to breach of trust, fraud, solicitation of dishonest delivery of property, counterfeiting of valuable securities, falsified documents or electronic records, and criminal conspiracy. The FIR has read that these have caused a loss of approximately Rs 81.28 crore to BharatPe.

Some of the sections under which the FIR is registered (Reviewed by Business Standard) include 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public official or by a banker, merchant or agent), 420 (fraud and dishonorable solicitation of delivery of property), 467 (falsification of a valuable security , will, etc.), and 120b (criminal conspiracy).

In a statement after the FIR, Bharatby said, “We welcome the registration of the FIR by the Economic Crimes Wing of the Delhi Police regarding the company’s complaint in relation to the criminal offenses committed by Mr. Grover, his wife Madry Jane and other family members… Over the past 15 months, it has been The company is facing a vicious and malicious campaign directed by Grover against the company, its board of directors and its employees. The filing of the FIR is a step in the right direction, as it reveals numerous shady transactions conducted by the family for personal financial gain.”

The statement added, “This FIR will now enable law enforcement agencies to investigate more deeply into the crime and bring the perpetrators to the books… MZM legal (BharatPe) advises us on the criminal case.”

The charges against the parties allegedly involved include wrongful payments of Rs. 7.6 crore to bogus HR consultants (connected to the accused) on the basis of 86 fraudulent and fraudulent invoices; and inflated and improper payments through vendors linked to the defendant on the company’s account.

The FIR alleged input tax credit, fine to GST authorities (worth Rs. 1.66 crore), fictitious transactions and embezzlement of Rs. 71.76 crore. It alleged dishonest and illegal payments to travel agencies associated with the accused on the basis of false and fabricated invoices for services that were actually utilized from genuine service providers.

Other charges include personal enrichment through reimbursement by Madhuri Jains using forged and self-made bills and destruction of evidence.

Grover is involved in a legal battle with BharatPe regarding allegations of financial irregularities that came to light in January 2022. In March last year, Grover resigned as BharatPe’s managing director and director of the board.

In his resignation letter in March 2022, Grover wrote: “I am writing this with a heavy heart because today I am forced to bid for a company I am founding. I say with my head held high that today this company stands as a leader in the world of financial technology. Since the beginning of 2022, unfortunately, it has been implicated in attacks baseless and directed at me and my family by a few individuals willing not only to harm me and my reputation but also to harm the reputation of the company, which ostensibly they are trying to protect.”

Grover has been the subject of five lawsuits in the past six months. In December 2022, Bharatby initiated criminal and civil proceedings against him, his wife and relatives for massive misappropriation of company funds. The company reportedly asked them to repay the company’s funds to the tune of Rs 88.6 crore at 18 per cent interest, which it alleged they defrauded via various modes such as creating fake invoices, inflated vendor payments and personal use, among others. It was a criminal case with EOW. In the same month, BharatPe filed a fraud case against Grover and his family in the Delhi High Court for allegedly embezzling ₹88.6 crore.

In March this year, BharatPe co-founder Shashvat Nakrani reportedly filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against Ashneer Grover for ‘unpaid shares’. Prior to that, in January, BharatPe’s chief co-founder, Bhavik Koladiay, sued Grover to regain his shares in Resilient Innovations, the parent entity that runs BharatPe.