Given the current era of the pandemic, all of us are using maximum advantage of the technological gadgets at our disposal in our house – the TV, a laptop, a jukebox, etc. Entertainment is very important to keep all of us mentally sane.

Speaking of which, Shark Tank has become the new Big Boss. Though sadistic in nature, watching the judges crush the soul out of the young entrepreneurs provides a balm on us frustrated human beings.

Meanwhile, reports have started pouring in, speculating that BharatPe might fire Shark Tank judge Ashneer Grover over fraud concerns.

What Is Shark Tank?

Originally Shark Tank is an American business reality television series where aspiring entrepreneurs present their business model to a panel of investors persuading them to give their startups a boost by investing in them. The show however finds its origin in the international format Dragons’ Den, which originated in Japan as Money Tigers in 2001.

The richest Indian shark (read: entrepreneur) is Ashneer Grover whose net worth is around seven hundred crore rupees.

Who Is Ashneer Grover?

Ashneer Grover is one of the panelists and investors of Shark Tank India. Known famously for belittling the entrepreneurs that came on the show, Ashneer Grover completed his engineering degree from IIT Delhi and pursued his MBA IIM Ahmedabad.

Having been the vice-president of Kotak Bank for a tenure of 7 years, Grover channelized all his experiences and knowledge of finance and banking into becoming the CFO of American Express.

Ashneer Grover

Ashneer Grover also happens to be the founder of the unicorn startup that was introduced in August 2018 – BharatPe. It is an Indian online payment company with a net evaluation of almost 2.5 billion dollars.

Apart from being an online payment company, BharatPe is a UPI-based intelligent payment solution that helps small businesses and merchants. Given the numerous online payment systems that are there like PhonePe, Mobikwik, and PayTM – BharatPe competes with them and for the past one year has always come out on the top.

Before he introduced BharatPe, he was the CFO of Grofers and the Head of new business for PC Chandra Jewelers, thus beginning his journey in the start-up sector.

Known to be very dynamic in nature and intelligent, Ashneer Grover has invested in more than 55 startups, the details of which are confidential.

Read More: In Pics: Academic Background Of Shark Tank Judges In Case You’re Looking For Lucrative Career Options

Fraud Concerns Over Ashneer Grover

BharatPe has gained quite the fame among shopkeepers as it caters to the financial needs of small grocers.

However, Ashneer Grover who created a company worth Rs. 20,000 crore is being seen as a toxic founder. The controversy erupted earlier this year when an audio clip surfaced on social media.

In the audio clip, a banker of Kotak Wealth Management associated with Kotak Mahindra Bank was being warned over the phone. It is alleged that Grover was using abusive language against the bank employee in the audio.

This particular audio has stunned the industry, raising questions on the ethics and behavior of the high-profile fintech executive whose company has allocated a banking license through a joint venture.

However, Grover took to Twitter on 6th January,

“Folks. Chill! It’s a fake audio by some scamster trying to extort funds (US$ 240K in bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I’ve got more character. And internet has got enough scamsters.”

However, after 8th January, this tweet by Grover was found deleted. On being asked about the removal of the tweet, Ashneer Grover responded,

“Since the audio clip has been removed from social media, there was no point in keeping the tweet anymore.”

Soon after it was disclosed that Ashneer Grover along with his wife Madhuri Grover had sent a legal notice to Kotak Mahindra Bank on 31st October, 2021. It was said that they demanded shares in the hugely successful Nykaa IPO in October but the bank failed to finance it.

On the other hand, BharatPe CEO Suhail Samir was financed by the bank. The Grovers sought damages stating that they were about to invest Rs. 500 crore in Nykaa’s IPO through the bank’s IPO financing service.

At the same time, Kotak Mahindra Bank had threatened legal action against the couple stating,

“While talking to our banker, abusive words were used.”

This proves that the bank believed the audio clip wasn’t a sham.

What’s genuinely funny is that Ashneer Grover’s wife, who is the head of controls at BharatPe, used to own a fashion boutique before and has absolutely no knowledge or skills in the banking and financing sector. According to a source,

“At times, the company did try to look at hiring a qualified CFO (chief financial officer), but Grover turned down that decision.”

BharatPe’s notice following the leave of Ashneer Grover

Hail Nepotism! However, both Ashneer and Madhuri Grover have been put on leave as tensions have begun growing.

What The BharatPe Company Has To Say

The termination of the Grover couple is still a rumor. It hasn’t been put into action. It is alleged that he might be removed based on an internal investigation which has given rise to suspicion of fraud. However, BharatPe gave out a statement wherein they clearly stated that owing to the ongoing audit, no terminations have been made.

According to a spokesperson from the firm,

“The board of BharatPe has not terminated the services of any employee at this stage. Reports suggesting any termination are baseless and untrue. The Board remains committed to an independent and thorough audit process. No action has been taken or will be taken till the audit has been completed.”

Safe to say, the fate of Ashneer Grover rests in the conclusion of the internal investigation and audit.

Disclaimer: This post is fact checked

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: Hindustan Times, Economic Times, Indian Express

Find the Blogger: @Rishita51265603

This post is tagged under Ashneer Grover, BharatPe, founder of BharatPe, unicorn company, Ashneer Grover abuses Kotak bank employee, Grover was the vice-president of Kotak Mahindra for 7 years, suspicions of fraud, internal investigation, Kotak sends legal notice to Grover, BharatPe hasn’t confirmed any rumors about his termination, Madhuri Grover, Shark Tank, panelist of Shark Tank

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