Former Bharatpe chief Ashneer Grover has written to the company’s board seeking action against CEO Suhail Sameer following his offensive remarks on social media and sought resignation of chairman Rajnish Kumar.
In response to a comment by Ashneer’s sister Aashima on a social media post by former Bharatpe employee Karan Sarki, Sameer said “Behen- tere bhai ne saara paisa chura liya (Sister, your brother has stolen all the money). Very little left to pay salaries”.
Sarki in the post had raised the issue of sacking of old staff and non-payment of salaries. Grover in the letter dated April 8, a copy of which is reviewed by PTI, said Sameer’s language in response to the aforesaid social media post is not only defamatory but “also blatantly a public lie and admission of the company being bankrupt by no less than its own CEO and member of the board”.
“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.
“Suhail has to conclusively prove to the board that he was not under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he put the said reply on LinkedIn,” Grover said. On Thursday, he tweeted that Bharatpe “closed its first quarter of ‘degrowth’ and ‘maximum cash burn’ under able (sic) leadership of Rajnish Kumar and Suhail Sameer.” However, a Bharatpe spokesperson said the company registered the strongest quarter in its history.
“We have registered 4x growth in our overall revenue over the same period last year. On a sequential-quarter basis, the growth has been 30 per cent, despite the third wave of Covid-19. Comparing month-on-month, all our metrics have grown at the fastest pace,” the spokesperson said.
Bharatpe’s merchant total payments value (TPV) grew 17 per cent, consumer TPV 39 per cent, loans facilitated 31 per cent, and revenue 21 per cent in March 2022 over Feb 2022, the spokesperson said.
“Going forward, we are tracking well to break even on our merchant business and further strengthen our consumer business. We request the media to take official comments from the company and not from former employees who no longer have business information,” the spokesperson said.
Grover in the letter said that Sameer’s all dealings should be audited by an independent auditor and he should only be reinstated as CEO once the audit report is tabled with the board and it exonerates him of any wrongdoing.
“Anything lesser in terms of action here would undeniably prove what is a fact – that what was done to me was a well planned discriminatory conspiracy by the board at behest of investors, not a governance review,” Grover said.
Bharatpe had removed Grover from all positions in March at the company and alleged to have also found involvement of Grover’s family and relatives in extensive misappropriation of the company’s funds.
Grover has demanded a written apology from Sameer and in absence of the same, he and his sister may seek damages and pursue criminal defamation against the Bharatpe CEO and the company.
Sameer had apologised for his remarks after it earned criticism from several people in social media. “Moreover, Chairman Rajnish Kumar should immediately resign. The current incident clearly brings out the fact that Rajnish Kumar condoning the life threat to me by Bhavik Koladiya from his own house and all the planned media leaks leading to my resignation in self respect, have further emboldened the current management to act as hooligans,” Grover said.
He said the management feels that they have got a ‘carte blanche’ from the board and its chairman to target him and his family without fear of any repercussions.
“It also proves that in the Governance Review which was supposed to be all encompassing, the chairman refused to look into the allegations made against Suhail altogether, further leading him to believe he is above everything,” Grover said.