The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice and summons to BharatPe’s former Managing Director Ashneer Grover and his kin in a plea filed by the company seeking orders to restrain them from making defamatory statements against the company, and other reliefs.
In its suit, running into 2,800 pages, BharatPe has claimed damages worth Rs 88.67 crore from Grover, his wife, and his brother for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds.
The damages sought include a claim for payment made against the invoices of non-existent vendors amounting to Rs 71.7 crore, a claim for Rs 1.66 crore penalty paid to GST authorities, payments totalling Rs 7.6 crore made to vendors purportedly providing recruitment services, payments of Rs 1.85 crore made to a furnishings company, payments for personal expenditures upto Rs 59.7 lakh and payment of Rs 5 crore damages for loss of reputation to the company caused by tweets and other statements made by them.
In its suit, the fintech company claimed that a Rajasthan-based travel company had raised invoices for foreign twice, once for Grover and his wife and second time for their children. The family also used the company’s funds to travel abroad.
The suit further claimed that the Grovers used company funds to pay the rent and security deposit of their posh duplex and for home appliances, too. The duplex was first taken over by Grovers as company’s guest house but eventually they started living there, the suit claimed.
BharatPe has filed an interim relief application seeking disclosure of assets of Grover and his family members, and an interim injunction restraining them from making defamatory/derogatory statements about the fintech company, its directors, employees and/or publicising the same.
The application also seeks direction to defendants to delete/remove within a period of five days all statements, tweets, social media posts, books, re-tweets, hashtags, videos, press conferences, interviews, comments, etc, made against the company and orders granting liberty to BharatPe to approach all social media platforms, media organisations, publications, websites, blogs, etc., to seek deletion/removal of all such material.
A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla gave Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain and others, two-week time to file replies.
BharatPe approached the High Court months after Grover and his wife were dismissed from the company over allegations of misappropriation of funds.
Claiming BharatPe’s investigations were illegal, Grover had also initiated arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) only to lose the dispute and was sacked from the company days later.
BharatPe’s counsel Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi showed the court tweets posted by Grover and his family members following his dismissal. Counsel for Grover claimed that the suit was not served on his client.
Justice Chawla has listed the matter for January 2023.