Former Bharatpe chief Ashneer Grover has written to the company’s board of directors to take action against CEO Suhail Sameer following his offensive comments on social media, calling for the resignation of chairman Rajnish Kumar.
In response to a comment by Mr Grover’s sister Aashima on a social media post by former Bharatpe employee Karan Sarki, Mr Sameer said: “Bhentere bhai ne saara paisa chura liya (Sister, your brother stole all the money ). There is very little left to pay salaries.”
Mr. Sarki in the post had addressed the dismissal of old staff and non-payment of salaries.
Mr. Grover said in the April 8 letter, a copy of which is being reviewed by PTI, that Mr. Sameer’s language in response to the above social media post was not only defamatory, but “also blatantly a public lie and an admission by the company is bankruptcy by none other than its own CEO and board member”.
“By precedent and the self-proclaimed high standards of this board, the CEO should be served an immediate cause-of-cause notice for his despicable public conduct and immediately placed on leave to deal with the damage to the company’s brand.
“Mr. Suhail is required to provide conclusive evidence to the board that he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when posting the said response on LinkedIn,” Mr. Grover said.
On Thursday, he tweeted that Bharatpe “completed its first quarter of ‘degrowth’ and ‘maximum cash burn’ under the able (sic) leadership of Rajnish Kumar and Suhail Sameer.” However, a spokesman for Bharatpe said the company had posted the strongest quarter in its history.
“We have seen four-fold growth in our total revenue compared to the same period last year. On a sequential quarterly basis, growth was 30% despite the third wave of Covid-19. Month-on-month, all of our metrics have grown the fastest,” the spokesman said.
Bharatpe’s merchant total payment value (TPV) increased by 17% in March 2022 compared to February 2022, consumer TPV increased by 39%, loans increased by 31% and revenue increased by 21%, the spokesman said.
“Looking forward, we are well on our way to breaking even for our retail business and further strengthening our consumer business. We ask the media to accept official comments from the company and not from former employees who no longer have business information,” the spokesman said.
Mr. Grover said in the letter that all of Mr. Sameer’s businesses should be audited by an independent auditor and he should not be reinstated as CEO until the audit report is submitted to the board and clears it of any wrongdoing.
“Any minor action here would undeniably prove what is a fact — that what was done to me was a well-planned discriminatory conspiracy by the board at the behest of investors, not a governance review,” Grover said.
Bharatpe removed Mr. Grover from all positions at the company in March and also allegedly found involvement of Mr. Grover’s family and relatives in a large-scale embezzlement of the company’s funds.
Mr Grover has requested a written apology from Mr Sameer and in the absence of one he and his sister can seek damages and criminal defamation charges against the CEO of Bharatpe and the company.
Mr Sameer had apologized for his remarks after they were criticized by several people on social media.
“Furthermore, Chairman Rajnish Kumar should resign immediately. The current incident makes it clear that Mr Rajnish Kumar takes self-respect of Bhavik Koladiya’s life threat against me from his own house and any planned media leaks leading to my resignation have further encouraged the current management to act as hooligans,” said Mr . Grover.
He said management felt it had been given “carte blanche” by the board and its chairman to target him and his family without fear of repercussions.
“It also proves that in the governance review, which was meant to be all-encompassing, the Chair has refused to investigate the allegations against Mr Suhail as a whole, further leading him to believe he is above it all,” Herr said grover