The Delhi High Court has mandated that Ashneer Grover, co-founder and former Managing Director of BharatPe, and his spouse Madhuri Jain Grover must deposit a security of INR 80 crore to travel abroad. This order comes in light of fraud allegations amounting to INR 81 crore against the couple at BharatPe.

Court’s Directive for Security Deposit

Justice Subramonium Prasad issued the directive requiring the couple to furnish the security through property. This measure aims to ensure compliance with the court’s conditions amid the ongoing investigation into the alleged financial misconduct at BharatPe.

Surrender of Emirates Card

In addition to the security deposit, the court has also ordered the couple to surrender their Emirates Cards. This step is intended to prevent them from fleeing to the UAE, where they hold golden visas. The golden visa status facilitates long-term residency in the UAE, raising concerns about the possibility of evasion of legal proceedings.

Restrictions on BharatPe Shares

The Delhi High Court has further restrained Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain from creating any third-party rights on the shares of BharatPe that they own. This restriction ensures that their shares remain unencumbered during the investigation and potential legal proceedings.

Separate Travel Permissions

Despite objections from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), the court has permitted Grover and Jain to travel to the United States, albeit separately. This permission was granted so their children can attend summer school in the US.

Justice Prasad stipulated that while one of the couple travels, the other must remain in India as a form of “mortgage.” This arrangement is designed to minimize the risk of both parties fleeing the country simultaneously. Ashneer Grover will travel to the US on May 26 and return on June 14, while Madhuri Jain will leave for the US on June 15 and return on July 1.

EOW’s Objections and Investigations

The Economic Offences Wing had previously objected to Grover and Jain’s request to travel, citing them as a flight risk due to their ownership of properties abroad. The EOW highlighted that the investigation into the alleged fraud was at a critical stage, with Madhuri Jain reportedly not cooperating fully.

The probe into Grover and Jain’s activities began after allegations of embezzling funds from BharatPe surfaced in late 2023. The accusations include diverting funds and making payments to allegedly fake HR consultancies. Due to these serious allegations, the EOW has issued a lookout circular against the couple, prohibiting them from leaving the country without court permission.

Legal and Financial Ramifications

The legal actions against Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain underscore the severity of the allegations. The requirement to deposit a substantial security amount and the restriction on their BharatPe shares reflect the court’s commitment to ensuring accountability and preventing any attempts to evade justice.

Impact on BharatPe

The fraud allegations have significant implications for BharatPe, a prominent player in the Indian fintech sector. The company has been thrust into the spotlight due to the high-profile nature of the case and the involvement of its co-founder in the alleged misconduct. These developments could affect BharatPe’s reputation, stakeholder confidence, and operational stability.

Broader Implications for Corporate Governance

The case against Grover and Jain highlights broader issues of corporate governance and accountability in India’s startup ecosystem. As startups grow and attract significant investment, the importance of robust internal controls and transparent governance practices becomes paramount. The legal scrutiny faced by BharatPe’s former leadership serves as a cautionary tale for other companies in the sector.

Future Prospects and Legal Proceedings

As the investigation progresses, the future prospects for Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain will largely depend on the legal outcomes. The court’s conditions aim to ensure their presence in India for ongoing legal proceedings, thereby facilitating a thorough investigation.

Public and Media Attention

The high-profile nature of the case has attracted considerable public and media attention. The involvement of prominent business figures and the substantial amounts of money involved have made it a focal point in discussions about corporate fraud and regulatory oversight in India.

Compliance with Court Orders

Going forward, the compliance of Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain with the court’s orders will be closely monitored. Their adherence to the conditions set by the Delhi High Court will be crucial in determining the trajectory of the case and any potential legal consequences.

Continuing Legal Developments

The legal developments in this case will continue to be closely watched, as they could set important precedents for corporate governance and legal accountability in India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem.

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Aanya Kapoor, a seasoned editor at Atom News, brings a wealth of experience in journalism and a keen eye for compelling stories. With a background in investigative reporting, Aanya Kapoor is dedicated to delivering news that resonates with our diverse readership.