Sequoia Capital-backed Singapore-headquartered Zilingo said on Friday it has fired its chief executive officer Ankiti Bose 'with cause', following an investigation by a forensic firm into alleged financial irregularities.
Bose who was first suspended in March, after an attempt to raise new funds prompted questions about the company's accounting said on her instagram account that she had been terminated for 'insubordination'.
"Following an investigation led by an independent forensics firm that was commissioned to look into complaints of serious financial irregularities, the company has decided to terminate Ms Ankiti Bose’s employment with cause, and reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal action," the Zilingo said in a statement on Friday.
"I haven't done anything wrong, I have only spoken up to bullies and I will be sharing my side of the story soon," Bose wrote on social media platform, Instagram. "I have been suspended for the last 51 days on the basis of an anonymous whistleblower complaint and today I am informed that my employment has been terminated interalia on grounds of subordination," Bose said, adding that she had not seen the investigator's reports or had been provided time by the company to furnish supporting documents.
"I have also been receiving constant barrage of online threats to my life and family. Any report that comes out post my termination, would be vitiated as it seems to be instructed by conflicted parties and we will pursue our rights against this witch-hunt to the full extent of the law,” she added.
Zilingo, which is also backed by Temasek Holdings Pte, earlier this month also said the decision to suspend Indian-origin Bose was a joint decision taken by the board and not by any individual investor.
Bose had previously alleged harassment at the company, which she cofounded in 2015.
The company on Friday said that those complaints had been looked into.
"On April 11th, after her suspension on March 31, Ankiti Bose brought to the board’s attention, for the first time, certain harassment-related issues pertaining to past time periods, which did not include any harassment complaints against investors or their nominees," the company said on Friday. "The investigation has concluded that the company took appropriate action and followed due process,"
Zilingo had roped in audit giant Deloitte to look into the harassment charges raised by Bose.
The seven-year old fashion-tech B2B startup is in the midst of a battle between its investors and Bose after the former began questioning the firm's finances as part of the due diligence process when Zilingo was looking to raise between $150 million and $200 million with the help of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Zilingo is also facing a recall of loans by its debtholders. The company said on Friday that an independent financial advisor had been appointed which is " assessing options for the business,"
As a B2B ecommerce firm, Zilingo offers a tech platform for fashion retailers to source wholesale supplies.
The high-profile startup was founded by Bose and Dhruv Kapoor in 2015. It was backed by Sequoia Capital, with Temasek joining in February 2019, when it raised $226 million.
Sequoia Capital India is the largest shareholder in Zilingo with over 26% stake in the company, while co-founders Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor hold 8.58% stake each.