Ashneer Grover Demands Resignation of BharatPe Chairman Rajnish Kumar; Seeks Written Apology From CEO Suhail Sameer In a letter to the board of BharatPe, the former co-founder threatens defamation charges against Sameer for a comment made on Grover's sister on LinkedIn
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In a scathing letter addressing the board of BharatPe, Ashneer Grover on Friday demanded resignation of Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the board, and accused CEO Suhail Sameer of blatant defamation.
The letter was written in response to a comment made by Sameer on LinkedIn to Grover's sister Aashima Grover. Entrepreneur India has reviewed the letter.
Ashima had made a comment on a post which was posted on the microblogging site by a former employee in the admin team who was terminated without reason and whose salary was not paid for months. "Aashima Behen- tere bhai ne saara Paisa Chura liya. Very little left to pay salaries," Sameer had responded. The comment attracted immediate backlash from social media users and media outlets, and Sameer released an apology.
"Suhail's reply is not only blatantly defamatory, it is inappropriate language towards any female on social media and tone deaf to the trials of a poor admin level employee seeking his dues. It is also blatantly public lie and admission of the Company being bankrupt by no less than its own CEO and member of the Board - the same Suhail Sameer had less than couple of months ago claimed more than US$ 500 million in the bank account of the Company," Ashneer wrote in the letter.
The former co-founder of BharatPe demanded that the company's board of directors serve a show cause notice to Sameer for "his despicable public behaviour", and he must be put on a leave of absence to "manage the damage on the brand of the company".
"Suhail has to conclusively prove to the board that he was not under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he put the said reply on LinkedIn. The said reply was put in the wee hours of 7th March after a night of drunken debauchery by Suhail at BharatPe's offsite in Goa, videos of which are attached for your perusal and all over social media. Moreover, Suhail Sameer's all dealings should be audited by an independent auditor and he should only be reinstated as CEO once the audit report has been tabled with the Board and exonerates him of any wrong doing. Anything lesser in terms of 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 behest of investors, not a governance review," Grover wrote in the letter. The comment was actually made on 7th April.
The letter also marks the first time when Grover has demanded an immediate resignation from BharatPe chairman Rajnish Kumar. Alleging that Kumar's behaviour towards him in the past few months has been full of malice, Grover says in the letter, "The current incident clearly brings out the fact that Rajnish Kumar condoning the life threat to me by Bhavik Koladiya from his own house and all the planned media leaks leading to my resignation in self-respect, has further emboldened the current management to act as hooligans. They feel they have a carte blanche from the Board and its Chairman to target me and my family without fear of any repercussions, even at the cost of the Board's decency." He added that the board has been negligent in investigating the allegations made against Sameer altogether.
Despite of the public apology issued by Sameer about his language, Grover demanded a written apology from Sameer. In case BharatPe's CEO doesn't issue a written apology, Grover added that he reserves the rights to seek damages and pursuing criminal defamation against Sameer and the BharatPe board. "My sister, whose reputation has been irreparably damaged by this comment, will also be in her right to take up this with the Women's Commission and appropriate authorities."