Ashneer Grover to hire -legal firm to protect shareholding in BharatPe, as board investigation under

BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover reportedly hired Delhi NCR-based law firm Karanjawala & Co. He is looking to ‘safeguard his position and keep his shareholding (9.5%) intact in the fintech startup’, an ET report quoted. The report added that Grover is gearing up for any eventuality, including being ousted from the company.

The move comes shortly after BharatPe appointed Alvarez & Marsal, a risk advisory firm to conduct an independent audit of the startup’s internal processes and systems. It was a follow-up after Grover and his wife Madhuri Grover took a voluntary leave of absence from the company following multiple controversies. The board has also been grilled for not taking an action despite seeing red flags in BharatPe’s corporate governance.

It is noteworthy that while Grover owns 9.5% of BharatPe, other majority stakeholders include Sequoia Capital with a 19.6% stake, Coatue (12.4%), Ribbit Capital (11%), Beenext (9.6%), among others.

BharatPe’s trouble with Grover came to a head when an audio clip of Grover allegedly threatening and verbally abusing a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee during a telephone conversation went viral.

Alternately, the markets regulator SEBI has reportedly initiated an investigation into Kotak Wealth — the wealth management arm of Kotak. The markets regulator wants to ascertain whether there was any conflict of interest. This is further in line with Kotak starting an internal investigation on its relationship managers, to know if there was any violation of the ethical code of conduct or any instance of mis-selling.

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