Ashneer Grover, the former managing director of BharatPe, and his wife Madhuri Jain were intercepted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday evening as they were en route to New York, according to individuals familiar with the situation, as reported by Mint.
Sources disclosed that the couple, who were planning a vacation to New York, were halted by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police. The Economic Offences Wing had issued a lookout circular (LoC) earlier in the week as part of ongoing investigations into alleged fraud at BharatPe, officials revealed.
Sindhu Pillai, joint commissioner of police (EOW), clarified that the LoC was specifically to prevent the couple from traveling abroad and emphasised that they had not been arrested. She further stated, "They were detained before security check and asked to return to their Delhi residence and join the probe at the EOW office at Mandir Marg next week."
Ashneer Grover, addressing the situation, shared on X (formerly Twitter) that he had not received any notices or calls from the EOW since the FIR in May until 8 am on 17 November, seven hours after returning from the airport.
Grover mentioned being informed during immigration about the LoC, which struck him as odd since he had traveled internationally four times since the FIR without any issues or summonses. He also expressed his willingness to cooperate.
He asserted that there is no need for drama as there is a process to remove LoC because it is "easy to prove" that he is not a flight risk. He also asked not to write "premature obituaries" as "Jatt mareya tad maniye jad terami howe! Don’t pronounce me dead till 13 days after you’ve burned me at the pyre!"
Earlier in the week, Mint reported that recruitment firms associated with Ashneer Grover and his family members, linked to BharatPe, allegedly used backdated invoices to misappropriate funds for work not performed for the fintech unicorn.
The EOW investigation revealed that several HR consultancy firms shared the same registered address with the accused family members and relatives, and invoices from some of these firms contained bank account numbers that were not operational at the time of submission.
The EOW, in a status report submitted to the Delhi High Court, asserted that these firms were established solely for the purpose of siphoning off funds and causing wrongful gain to the alleged individuals.
BharatPe had filed a criminal complaint in December 2022, accusing Grover, his wife, and her family members of perpetrating a Rs 81.28 crore fraud, with one of the allegations involving Rs 7.6 crore paid to eight HR consultants linked to the accused individuals between 2018 and 2021.
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