Ashneer Grover, Madhuri Jain pay Rs 8.2 Cr in advance tax

BharatPe is under scrutiny by GST authorities over bogus receipts, while the Ministry of Corporate Affairs looks at the board's handling of the Grover saga.
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BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover have paid Rs. 8.2 crore in advance tax to the authorities for the next financial year. This would make Grover one of the highest tax-paying startup founders in India for the second year running.

Grover, who held the post of the company's CEO post until last year and the managing director role until last week, paid Rs 7.1 crore, while his wife Jain, who was the Head of Controls at the fintech startup until last month, submitted an advance tax of Rs 1.1 crore.

Both Grover and his wife left the fintech unicorn this year after they came under scrutiny for misusing funds at BharatPe.

While Grover chose to quit on March 1 as he felt the board was conducting their review in an inappropriate way, Jain was let go of her position in February. In response, she posted a series of videos on Twitter accusing the BharatPe leadership team and board of misogyny amid "drunken orgies" at the office.

BharatPe under GST scrutiny

Since last year, GST officials had been looking into an allegation that BharatPe had been issuing invoices without providing any actual supply of goods. In October 2021, the Directorate General of GST Issuance (DGGI) had conducted a search of the unicorn's offices.

The tax authorities are now looking into the fintech startup's accounts for the last four years to see if the company has been issuing bogus invoices without providing services as well.

MCA looks into BharatPe board's conduct

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is looking into the board's conduct with regards to the investigation into Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain over the last two months. Grover had made multiple claims that investigation was biased and that there were constant leaks from the committee.

"I’ll be pleased to cooperate with MCA as an Indian MD and shareholder who has been wronged,” said Grover in a message to Business Standard.

BharatPe's other co-founder, Shasvat Nakrani, had earlier accused Grover of creating a false narrative around the committee's actions, saying that his and his wife's conduct merited their departure from the company.

Grover: "Who is Bhavik?"

In the light of Grover's departure from BharatPe, a new wrinkle has appeared in the ownership structure of the fintech startup. While it has been widely acknowledged that the company was founded by Grover, Nakrani, and Bhavik Koladiya, the latter apparently does not have any stock ownership of BharatPe due to a financial situation he was in when the startup was created in 2018.

Allegedly, Nakrani and Grover had promised him a portion of their shares to be held for him. However, now that Grover has left the company on bad terms, he has come out and rubbished Koladiya's role in founding and running the organisation.

Talking to Business Standard, Grover stated, "I own all my shares. Who is Bhavik? I’ve got nothing to sort out with anyone. Maybe Sequoia is holding shares for someone — not me"

Grover said, “it’s hilarious. You should go and ask the company one simple question. Did the board lie to the RBI about shareholding?"

Ashneer Grover remains the largest individual shareholder at BharatPe with 9.5 percent of the company. Sequoia Capital is the largest overall shareholder with 19.6 percent of the fintech unicorn. Grover has yet to confirm when or for how much he would be willing to sell his stake.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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