Ashneer Grover calls for RBI investigation into BharatPe shareholding: Report

Ashneer Grover in a letter addressed to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das demanded an investigation into BharatPe's shareholding.
Ashneer Grover calls for RBI investigation into BharatPe shareholding: Report
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Ashneer Grover, the co-founder of BharatPe has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking an investigation into the shareholding of the company, reported The Economic Times.

The former managing director of BharatPe penned a letter directed to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, alleging that the fintech company had intentionally engaged in fraudulent activities by rehiring Bhavik Koladiya.

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Ashneer Grover calls for RBI investigation into BharatPe shareholding: Report

Koladiya was convicted of wire fraud in the US, and was added to the company's cap table after obtaining several licences.

Grover, who left the company in March 2022, asked for an investigation to find out if the company's board and investors had 'warehoused' Koladiya's shares for a while and then brought him back once they got the necessary approvals from the central bank.

Warehousing refers to the act of accumulating shares over a period before obtaining a huge portion of a company.

Grover also questioned whether BharatPe's inclusion of Koladiya in its ownership structure during the licence application would have led regulators to approve the company's stake in Unity Small Finance Bank or its acquisition of Liquiloans. BharatPe also has preliminary approval for its payments' aggregator business through its subsidiary, Resilient Payments.

In his letter, Grover noted that in 2022-23, co-founder Shashvat Nakrani transferred shares to Koladiya, who had previous legal issues in the US.

Nakrani reportedly transferred 11.7 per cent of shares, worth around Rs 600 crore, to Koladiya for free, as stated in the company’s annual reports.

Grover demanded that if BharatPe is found guilty, all its licenses should be revoked, and its entire board of directors should be banned from holding positions in any RBI-regulated entity.

He also called for the blacklisting of venture firms associated with the fintech startup and the imposition of monetary penalties on them.

BharatPe, which provides QR code-based digital payments and loans, has raised approximately $600 million to date and was valued at $2.7 billion in 2021. The company has been seeking to raise $100 million in fresh equity since last year, with additional plans to raise Rs 500 crore in debt through non-convertible debentures.

On March 4, Grover also sent a letter to the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police to dismiss the first information report filed against him for alleged fraud.

He cited a Deloitte audit report stating that no fraud had occurred. Earlier, Delhi Police had denied permission for Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain to travel to London, issuing a lookout circular against them on November 6 of the previous year, preventing their international travel.

Source: India Today

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