BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer broke his silence on allegations of ousting co-founder Ashneer Grover, saying he did what was right for the company and investors, and to protect his reputation.
BharatPe, which allows shop owners to make digital payments via QR codes, took away all titles and positions of Grover last month after a third-party audit under him ended an alleged grim ruling.
Mr Grover, who had to go on leave in January following allegations of cheating and using abusive language against employees of Kotak Mahindra Bank, had accused Sameer of accompanying investors to remove him from the post.
“Most of them (accusations) I buy,” Sameer said in an interview. “I did what was right for the investors. I did what was right for the company, so I’m not here.” Ashneer, he said, was “a deep personal friend”.
“We were very close,” he said. “But my job here isn’t to be a good friend. My job is to do what’s right.” Following allegations of financial irregularities under Mr. Grover, BharatPe hired a law firm and risk advisors to conduct a more detailed investigation.
BharatPe first sacked Madhuri Jain, after which Mr. Grover resigned and the company slapped her co-founder and other titles on alleged “widespread misuse of company funds” by making them “fake sellers” to launder money and “company expenses”. accounts”. “To enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyle.”
“I have an incredible reputation to live up to. This is my last job in life[and]I won’t let anything come to my reputation. So I’ll do what’s right for the company, I’ll do what’s right for us Shareholders even if it means something that is against one of us,” Mr. Sameer said.
He said he could have quit if there was a mistake in his conduct.
“So I did what you would expect a CEO to do,” he said. “Therefore, there is no question of accusing or taking sides with anyone.” Mr Grover had reportedly said that he was manipulated by Sameer and the company’s general counsel Sumeet Singh to go on leave.
Mr Sameer said the events were “turbulent”.
“He was even more upset for my general counsel (Singh). He (Singh) was Ashneer’s childhood friend,” he said. “We are the two people who were all accused. But we were the only two place holders. Whoever would have been on the Governing Council would have had the same allegations. We are not taking this to heart. Hopefully, a few years. Later, Ashneer and I will be friends again.” The board of BharatPe has received the final report of the review of governance, but it has not been considered yet.
He said the board may meet later this month to discuss it but there is also an opinion that since Ashneer has resigned, there is no need for further action.
“It’s the board’s call. It’s premature for me to say (what it will do on the report) on behalf of the board. Right now, the focus is on making the business comfortable for growth (and employees),” he said. said.
He said that all the board members have received the reports and they have gone through them. “At some opportune time frame, we’ll come together and say, so what do we do with it.” Mr Grover currently holds a 9.5 per cent stake in BharatPe, while other co-founder Shashwat Nakrani holds a 7.8 per cent stake. Investor Sequoia Capital India is the largest shareholder in BharatPe with 19.6 per cent stake, followed by Kotyu 12.4 per cent and Ribbit Capital at 11 per cent.
Responding to BharatPe’s decision, Mr Grover said last month that he was surprised but not surprised by the personal nature of the company’s statement.
“It comes from a state of personal hatred and low thinking,” he had said. “I would like to know which among Amarchand, PwC and A&M have started auditing the ‘grande’ of their lifestyles?”
Mr Grover had also questioned the role of former SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar, an independent director, on the BharatPe board.