A Deleted Tweet, An Allegedly Abusive Call: Fintech BharatPe vs Kotak
BharatPe's Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Grover said Kotak backtracked on IPO promise
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Kotak Mahindra bank alleges that the audio clip is of their employee being threatened and abused by Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Grover for botching their investment in e-tailer Nykaa's blockbuster initial public offering, or IPO, last year.
An account named "@BabuBongo" shared the 4.29-minute clip with the comment: "How rich founders treat poor bank employees".
Mr Grover, in a now-deleted tweet on Friday, claimed it was fake. "Folks. Chill. It's a fake audio by some scamster trying to extort funds (USD 240,000 bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I've got more character. And, internet has got enough scamsters," he wrote.
Ashneer Grover today sent a legal notice to Kotak Mahindra Bank alleging that it reneged on a promise to get him shares worth Rs 500 crore when Nykaa's IPO was launched.
In response, Kotak Mahindra Bank has said it is looking at legal options against Mr Grover for using "inappropriate language" in a call with its employee.
Mr Grover's notice says on 28 October, after their repeated assurance that Nykaa shares would be allotted to them, Kotak said it would not be able to provide financing for the Nykaa IPO. Kotak cited "erratic FII (foreign institutional investor)" and "very high lending rates", says the notice.
The Grovers alleged Kotak's refusal to provide IPO financing at the eleventh hour completely crippled their ability to participate in the Nykaa IPO and deprived them of an investment opportunity about which they had informed Kotak Mahindra Bank more than a month before the IPO was launched.
Kotak Mahindra Bank in a statement denied any breach or violation in the deal with the Grovers and said it would pursue legal action.
"This notice was received by us and was replied to appropriately at the time, including placing on record our objections to inappropriate language used by Mr Grover. Appropriate legal action is being pursued. We would like to confirm that there is no breach or violation by the Kotak Group in any manner whatsoever," the bank said in the statement.
Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani co-founded BharatPe in 2018. BharatPe serves over 75 lakh merchants across 150 cities and has raised over $ 650 million in equity and debt so far. Its investors include Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadfast Capital, Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital and others. Nykaa's IPO debut in October valued the e-tailer at nearly Rs 96,000 crore.