In a startling turn of events, Ashneer Grover, former managing director at BharatPe, and his wife Madhuri Jain, found themselves detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday evening. The couple was en route to New York for a vacation when they were stopped by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi police, according to sources familiar with the matter.
This development comes in the wake of a lookout circular (LoC) issued earlier in the week by the EOW, part of the ongoing investigations into alleged fraud at BharatPe. Sindhu Pillai, joint commissioner of police (EOW), clarified that the LoC was intended to prevent the couple from traveling abroad and emphasized that they have not been formally arrested.
Ashneer Grover took to X (formerly Twitter) to share his perspective, revealing that he had received no notices or calls from the EOW since the FIR in May until 8 am on November 17. He expressed surprise at the LoC, given his international travels post-FIR without any issues or summons. Grover mentioned that he received a summon from EOW at his residence this morning and affirmed his willingness to cooperate, as he has done in the past.
This development follows Mint’s earlier report, which detailed an investigation by the EOW into recruitment firms associated with Ashneer Grover and his family. The investigation revealed the alleged use of backdated invoices to divert funds for services not rendered to BharatPe, raising questions about financial practices within the fintech unicorn.
Eight HR consultancy firms, including Vardhaman Marketing, Impulse Marketing, and Team Source, were identified with the same registered address as the accused family members. The EOW reported that these firms submitted invoices with bank account numbers that were not operational at the time, suggesting fraudulent practices aimed at misappropriating funds.
The controversy dates back to December 2022 when BharatPe filed a criminal complaint accusing Grover, his wife, and her family members of a ₹81.28 crore fraud, including allegations of a ₹7.6 crore payment to HR consultants linked to the accused individuals between 2018 and 2021.
As the saga continues, the detained couple is expected to join the probe at the EOW office on Mandir Marg next week, marking a critical juncture in the unfolding BharatPe controversy.