Setback for Ashneer Grover, wife as HC refuses to stay probe against them in BharatPe fraud case

by IANS |

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday declined to stay an investigation against Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain Grover in connection with an FIR registered by Delhi Police based on a complaint by fintech firm BharatPe, which has alleged a fraud of nearly Rs 81 crore.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani said that at this stage, no case is made out for staying the investigation and also declined to direct the investigating officer to give an advance notice to the couple if he wanted their custody.

The court asked them to file an anticipatory bail instead. Petitioners' counsel argued that the FIR was based on malafides.

The court said: "This court is of the view that no case is made out, at this stage, for staying the investigation and so far as prayer about advance notice is concerned, petitioner is at liberty to adopt other remedies available to them in accordance with law."

The high court also issued notice to BharatPe and Delhi Police on Grovers plea for quashing the FIR and on the application for stay of investigation.

Senior advocates Vikas Pahwa and Dayan Krishnan represented the complainant and opposed issuance of notice on the plea, and argued that the matter involved complex financial transactions which resulted in defalcation of funds. They further argued that petitioners availed input tax credit under GST law with respect to bogus transactions and forged certain documents, and indulged in siphoning of funds.

The petitioners' counsel contended that the allegations pertained to matters relating to GST and management of the company, which they were anyway entitled to do as directors and they disclose no criminality. The high court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on September 25.

BharatPe had approached the high court months after Grover and his wife were dismissed from the company over allegations of misappropriation of funds.

Delhi Police's EOW had registered the FIR in May under eight sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal breach of trust, 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467 and 468 (forgery).

A senior police official privy to investigation said that a complaint was received and after initial enquiry into the allegations, the FIR was registered.

"We welcome the registration of an FIR by the EOW in the company's complaint in relation to the criminal offences by Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain and other family members. For the last 15 months, the company has been facing a vicious and malicious campaign run by Grover against the company, the board and its employees," said BharatPe in a statement.

"The registration of the FIR is a step in the right direction which unearths various suspicious transactions made by the family for their personal pecunary gains. This FIR will now enable the law enforcement agencies to investigate deeper into the criminality and bring the culprits to books," it said.

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