BharatPe sacks Madhuri Jain amid charges of financial fraud

Bangalore: BharatPe has fired the company’s controller Madhuri Jain on charges of ‘misappropriation of funds’, two people familiar with the matter confirmed to ET. Jain has been in charge of finances at the $2.8 billion company since October 2018, and was also named in a preliminary investigation by Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) linking financial irregularities at the startup. Jain is the wife of Bharatpe co-founder Ashneer Grover.

“It appears that the company has found certain financial irregularities in the company’s books and there is strong evidence on the money being ‘used’ for personal purchases. Before the board,” said one of the people aware of the discussions.

ET has learned that BharatPe has written to Jain on February 22 to terminate him immediately.

A second person quoted above said, “The interesting thing here is that the company is not considering him as a key managerial personnel, so they have decided to sack him immediately before submitting the final report for board review.” ”

Jain, in a letter to BharatPe’s board on February 10, had alleged that he never tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the company, as first reported by ET on February 18. In his letter, Jain also wrote to the company’s board that his “alleged” resignation was “rather surprising” and “disregarded” every known criterion of “corporate governance and propriety”.

Describing the ‘Governance Review’ as a ‘roving inquiry’, Jain said, “Neither did I have any information about his (alleged resignation) nor have I made any such resignation.” Battle between shareholders.

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Jain’s manager and husband Grover had offered to resign at the board meeting on January 19. He immediately withdrew, calling it ‘spontaneous’. Grover had told BharatPe’s board that a final decision on Jain’s resignation would be taken after his return to the company in April.

Both Grover and Jain are on leave from startup since January 19 and 20 respectively. Jain had also written to independent advisor A&M on February 10, terming the review of the regime as an “I wash” and demanding an immediate probe into the “media leaks” with respect to the preliminary findings. Jain was also contemplating legal action against the firm.

Queries written to BharatPe did not elicit any response. Messages sent to Grover remained unanswered. Jain declined to comment on the matter.

On February 4, ET reported that the findings of preliminary investigation found that Jain, his brother Shvetank Jain and his brother-in-law Deepak Jagdishram Gupta, were linked to financial irregularities in the company.

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