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Ashneer Grover resigned \'minutes\' after receiving board agenda: BharatPe
Ashneer Grover

Ashneer Grover, co-founder and managing director of BharatPe, resigned from the company after sending  a scathing letter to the board, accusing investors of being "far removed from reality" and treating founders as "slaves". 

In response, a Bharat Pe spokesperson said that Grover resigned  "minutes" after receiving the agenda for the upcoming board meeting that included submission of the PWC report on his "conduct and considering actions based on it".

"The Board reserves the right to take action based on the report’s findings," the spokesperson said. 

In an email sent to the company’s board on Tuesday midnight, Grover wrote that while he is resigning, he will remain " the single largest individual shareholder of the company".

 “I write this with a heavy heart as today I am being forced to bid adieu to a company of which I am a founder.” He said that since the beginning of this year, unfortunately, he has been embroiled in “baseless and targeted attacks on him and his family by a few individuals," Grover said in his letter. 

Grover's resignation comes after two months of high drama which unfolded after an audio clip surfaced online where he was heard abusing a Kotak employee. Grover said that he is now wasting himself “fighting a long, lonely battle” against his own investors and management; and describing the entire episode as a “battle of egos.”  

He wrote, “The fundamental fact is that all of you as investors are so far removed from reality that you’ve forgotten what real businesses look like. Your outlook towards BharatPe has been limited to the small window on your Zoom Meetings application, far removed from the sweat of the brow that goes into making BharatPe the business leader that it is. None of you, including the ones based in India, have ever been to our office even once, since the pandemic turned our lives upside down and sought to suffocate the economy. Not even once. Not Micky. Not Harshjit. Not Mohit. Not Teru San. Not Rahul. Not Deven. No one. None of you even turned-up despite an invitation for the inauguration of our new office. This is how connected you are to BharatPe.” 

“Your views of businesses and problems on the ground are so colored by the windows of the Ivory Tower in which you all reside that you have no connect whatsoever with the human element of the business. It is sad that you have even lost touch with the Founder. You’ve lost touch with me. For you, the Founder of this company has been reduced to a button to be pressed when needed. I cease to be a human for you,” he continued. 

Grover said that the investor’s template to make an “unwanted founder” go away is to make them the “villain of the piece” and that’s what has been done in his case by invoking SHA, putting him on leave under the pretext of a governance review and terminate his wife’s employment. “When you wanted to leverage my personal network, you were very happy to do so – today I am being vilified and treated in the most disgraceful manner.” 

“You treat us Founders as slaves – pushing us to build multi-billion-dollar businesses and cutting us down at will. I am the rebel slave who must be hung by the tree so none of the other slaves can dare to be like me ever again. Unfortunately, I refuse to walk that path and refuse to tolerate this continuous and shameful vilification of me and my family. I have been the one who founded this company and built it up to its enviable position today, no wonder you want to oust me for your vested interests,” he wrote. 

Grover also maintained that the company will not be able to “find a single act of impropriety” against him. While ending the letter, he said, “I am leaving you with this challenge. Build incrementally even half of the value I created so far – I am leaving you with three times the funds I’ve utilized till date.”  

His resignation comes few days after he lost an arbitration that he had filed with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) claiming that BharatPe’s investigations against him was illegal. 

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