Ashneer Grover, Madhuri Jain Issued Summons In Legal Battle With BharatPe
The Delhi High Court today issued summons to BharatPe’s former MD (Managing Director) Ashneer Grover and his wife on a suit filed by the company seeking to restrain them from making defamatory statements against the fintech firm, which has accused the couple of misappropriating funds.
The high court granted two weeks time to Ashneer Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain, the then head of controls and group president of the company, administration and facilities and three other relatives to file their replies to the suit and applications for interim relief filed by BharatPe and listed the matter for further proceedings in January 2023.
In the suit, the company has also sought to direct the couple and three others to pay more than Rs 88.67 crore along with interest towards recovery of alleged misappropriated funds and damages caused to the reputation of the firm.
“Pass a decree of permanent injunction restraining the defendants (Ashneer Grover and others) and/or anyone on their behalf in any manner whatsoever from making defamatory/derogatory statements concerning the petitioner (BharatPe), its directors, employees and/or publicising, printing the same in any medium or form whatsoever,” the suit said, while also seeking direction to the defendants to disclose their assets.
Ashneer Grover had resigned from the company in March and his wife was removed from her post.
During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for BharatPe, contended that Ashneer Grover, his wife and other relatives were carrying out a “vicious and vitriolic” campaign against the company which has a large number of foreign investors.
The senior counsel also showed the court several tweets posted by Ashneer Grover and his relatives following his ouster from the company.
“These are all his family members. They were sacked from the company. We have a suit for damages as well,” he said.
The counsel for Ashneer Grover and his wife said they were not served with the suit copy.
As the judge said that an advance copy of the suit should have been served to the defendants, Mukul Rohatgi said the only reason they did not do so was that the moment Ashneer Grover comes to know about it, “he will again go on a rampage”.
The company’s spokesperson said, “BharatPe has initiated civil and criminal action against erstwhile Co-founder and Managing Director Ashneer Grover, former Head of Controls Madhuri Jain Grover and other connected parties of their family for various claims, including misappropriation of company funds.” “We have full faith in the courts and authorities and are confident that justice will be done. As the matter is sub-judice, we have no further comment to offer at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
In the suit, the company has stated that from 2018 till January 2022, the defendants made it to enter into various dubious transactions, including misappropriation of the funds of the petitioner for their personal use, resulting in monetary loss amounting to Rs 83.67 crore.
Besides Ashneer Grover and his wife, the company has arrayed as defendants — Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain and Shwetank Jain — who all are relatives of the couple and appointed on different posts in the company.
As an interim relief, the company has sought to direct the defendants to delete or remove within a period of five days all statements, tweets, social media posts, books, retweets, hashtags, videos, press conferences, interviews and comments made against the firm.
It also sought liberty to approach social media platforms, media houses, publications and others for deletion of such material.
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