Madhuri Jain Grover, known for her significant contributions to BharatPe alongside her husband Ashneer Grover, found herself in the spotlight due to an unforeseen event at the airport. The couple, who held prominent positions at the fintech firm BharatPe before being sacked, were allegedly prevented from boarding an international flight to New York. The reason for this roadblock was that immigration officials had invoked a lookout circular (LoC) issued by Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EoW).
The Ongoing Investigation: Allegations of Fraud at BharatPe
The backdrop of this incident is the ongoing investigation into alleged fraud at BharatPe, revealing unexplained payments to HR firms by Grover, his wife, and their family. Sources indicate that these payments, made through backdated invoices, were for recruitment commissions.
The investigation suggests that Rs 7.6 crore was allegedly paid to fictitious firms, with an additional Rs 1.66 crore paid as a penalty to Goods and Services Tax authorities. An alarming Rs 71.76 crore was allegedly siphoned off through other fictitious transactions.
If convicted, the accused could face severe consequences, ranging from a 10-year jail term to life imprisonment.
Audio Clip Controversy
An audio clip allegedly leaked on social media snowballed into a major controversy for BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover and his wife, Madhuri Grover. In a statement, Kotak Mahindra said they were pursuing "appropriate legal action" against the Grovers, placing on record "objections to inappropriate language used by Grover
This came following a notice sent by Grover’s law firm to the Kotak Group last year in October concerning the initial public offering (IPO) of Nykaa's parent company, FSN E-commerce Ventures. Grover reportedly accused Kotak of going back on their promise of securing shares worth Rs 500 crore in Nykaa.
According to NDTV, Grover's notice to Kotak Mahindra came after the latter cited "erratic foreign institutional investors" and "very high lending rates" to allegedly backtrack on their assurances to Grover about allotting Nykaa shares. Grover claimed this botch-up hit hard on an investment opportunity.
In its recent statement, Kotak Mahindra mentioned, "We would like to confirm that there is no breach or violation by the Kotak Group in any manner whatsoever."
Amid these developments, a controversial audio clip surfaced in which a man, allegedly Grover, was heard using inappropriate language with a Kotak employee, as per various reports.
In a tweet, Grover dismissed the audio, saying, "Folks. Chill. It's fake audio by some scamster trying to extort funds (US$ 240K in bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I’ve got more character. And the Internet has got enough scamsters."
Reports suggest Kotak's reference to "inappropriate language" in its statement is to the viral audio clip.
Madhuri Jain Grover's Termination
Madhuri Jain Grover is allegedly accused of utilizing company funds for personal beauty treatments, purchasing electronic items, and funding family trips to the US and Dubai, as revealed by sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Disturbingly, she is also alleged to have paid her personal staff from company accounts and produced fake invoices from known or friendly parties, adding another layer to the financial irregularities.
Know Who Is Madhuri Grover
Her profile shows Madhuri Grover is the Head of Controls at BharatPe, having held the position since October 2018. She has previously worked as a designer with various companies, including luxury label Satya Paul. She is a graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and also holds a degree in foreign trade.
On Instagram, she describes herself and her interests as "Entrepreneur, Traveller, Photography, Acting, Mother." Ashneer Grover, her husband, was one of the "sharks" on Season 1 of Shark Tank India, a business reality show.
Suggested reading: Why Were Ashneer Grover And Madhuri Jain Stopped At Delhi Airport?