bharatpe: BharatPe’s Madhuri Jain writes to Alvarez & Marsal on leaked investigation report

Bengaluru: Madhuri Jain, controller at BharatPe and wife of company co-founder Ashneer Grover, wrote to Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) on Thursday, asking the consultancy about recent media leaks. His letter also questions how an investigation into alleged improprieties at the fintech company is being conducted.

A&M’s initial investigation showed that Jain and other family members were allegedly involved in financial irregularities at BharatPe, ET reported on February 4.

Jain’s letter said she was considering legal action against the company and requested an internal investigation into how the contents of the investigation undertaken by A&M were “disclosed”.

“It is quite surprising that the report which has been made available to the media is neither available from the company nor provided to me,” Jain said in the letter to Manish Saigal, Managing Director of A&M in the country. “Even assuming such a report exists, it is common practice that where there is a report making allegations or disparaging an individual, that individual’s identity remains confidential.”

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Interestingly, in her letter to A&M, she said that the fact that the report’s findings were leaked to the media makes her “firmly believe” that the “investigation” was solely to “tarnish” her reputation, and that it this is a “complete eyewash.” The letter was also marked to all BharatPe board members. Jain is currently on leave from the company. Grover is also on furlough until the end of March.

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Jain and BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover did not return calls or messages. BharatPe and A&M did not respond to ET’s questions.

She questioned the intent of the report in the context of the widely available excerpts.

“Clearly, the excerpts from the purported report freely available in the media show that your organization failed to follow even these basic rules of confidentiality and ethics,” Jain wrote. “It is clear to me that the report was leaked to the media with malicious intent.”

Governance Lens

Late last month, BharatPe’s board called on A&M to conduct an independent investigation into the fintech company’s internal “governance” practices.

Last week, preliminary findings of internal investigation undertaken by BharatPe through independent consultant A&M showed that BharatPe pays recruitment fees to a number of “consultants” for employees recruited through them. However, in five of these cases, while the employees confirmed their hiring dates as mentioned on the suppliers’ invoices, they denied having been recruited by the “consultant” mentioned on the invoices. The preliminary conclusions were dated January 24.

In addition, initial findings indicate that BharatPe’s checks officer, Jain, received at least three such invoices herself. The bills were allegedly created by Shwetank Jain, Jain’s brother, the report adds.

The findings also mention that BharatPe was also questioned last year by GST’s Directorate General of Intelligence (DGGI) over alleged financial irregularities surrounding payments made to vendors. Here, Jain’s brother-in-law ‘Deepak Jagdishram Gupta’ reportedly confessed in his response to DGGI that he was responsible for purchasing from suppliers, and pleaded with the authorities not to send ‘voucher’ notices. , the preliminary findings mentioned.

“We have learned that our suppliers, as informed by DGGI officers, do not exist or have never operated at their principal place of business. We do not want a show cause notice (SCN) from the department on this and ask that you waive the SCN,” Gupta reportedly told DGGI.

Consider legal action

In her letter, Jain said she had the right to take legal action against the consulting firm.

“I reserve all my legal rights, under civil and criminal law, to pursue appropriate legal action at your risk, expense and consequences for your conduct which has caused irreparable harm to my reputation and that of my family”, Jain said in his letter to UN M.

Last week, ET reported that Grover had hired New Delhi-based law firm Karanjawala & Co to take legal advice amid mounting pressure on him from the board to quit fintech. which he helped found. ET also reported that Grover had written to the BharatPe board asking them to remove current chief executive Suhail Sameer from the board. BharatPe co-founder Shashvat Nakrani later released a statement saying he supported Sameer’s appointment to the board.

In his first interaction since an alleged profanity-laden audio clip became public, Grover told ET that he would participate in the investigation as long as it complied with the law.

“I’m happy to participate in anything as long as it’s fair and in line with Indian laws. Anything out of court or if anyone wants to take it too far, I won’t be able to participate. I’m very clear in when it comes to my personal wealth – it’s an open book,” Grover said at the time.

Correction: An earlier version of the report indicated that Ashneer Grover was named in the A&M report’s initial findings. He denied this. We made the change.

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