BharatPe Fraud: Ashneer Grover, Wife Move Delhi HC Challenging Look Out Circular | Economy News

New Delhi: Payment app BharatPe’s former MD Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover on Thursday approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against them in connection with the investigation in a cheating and forgery case.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, before whom the matter came up for hearing, listed it for May 8 saying the investigation in the case registered by the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) is at a nascent stage.

“It is too hot in the day for this court to intervene now. Come after sometime. The investigation is at a nascent stage and they will take some time to investigate,” the high court said. It further said that at this juncture, it will not be correct to say that the LOC is completely unjustified. As an interim relief, Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover have sought suspension of the LOC issued against them with a further direction to the authorities not to interfere with or prevent their right to travel abroad. (Also Read: Markets Turn Choppy On Budget Day; Sensex, Nifty Settle Lower)

The court asked the authorities concerned to consider the application of the two petitioners for permission to travel abroad for two days. It also noted that Grovers’ plea seeking quashing of the FIR dged by the EOW is also pending in the high court.

The counsel representing the Grover couple submitted that they have cooperated with the investigation and there are multiple proceedings against them. They sought quashing of the LOC on the ground that it was unwarranted as the petitioners were regularly appearing before the investigating officer and cooperating in the investigation.

They were informed for the first time that LOC was issued against them when they were detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on November 16, 2023, while they were scheduled to travel to the US.

After being detained, they were informed that the LOC was operational from November 6, 2023. In May last year, the EOW filed an FIR against Grover, his wife Madhuri and others under eight sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467 and 468 (forgery) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) for an alleged Rs 81 crore fraud after a complaint by fintech unicorn BhartPe. (Also Read: Budget 2024: Rupee Rises 8 paise to 82.96 Against US Dollar)

BharatPe in the complaint alleged that Grover and his family caused damages of about Rs 81.3 crore through illegitimate payments to bogus human resource consultants, inflated and undue payments through pass-through vendors connected to the accused, sham transactions in input tax credit and payment of penalty to GST authorities, illegal payment to travel agencies, forged invoices by Madhuri and destruction of evidence.

Madhuri was the head of controls at BharatPe and was fired in 2022 after a forensic audit revealed several irregularities. Subsequently, Grover resigned as CEO in March 2022. 

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