Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani’s bench issued notice on the petition by Grover and his wife seeking to quash the FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police and asked the investigating agency as well as complainant BharatPe to state their stand, the report said. The court issued notice on the application for a stay of investigation as well.
“No case is made out at least at this stage for staying investigation in the matter. So far as advance written notice of arrest is concerned, petitioners are at liberty to adopt other remedies available to them in accordance with the law. File section 438 (of CrPC for anticipatory bail). Why should I get into my inherent power when there is a statutory power,” the court said, according to the news agency.
The counsel representing the petitioners argued that the FIR was malicious and the allegations were related to GST and company management, which fell within the directors’ rights and showed no criminal intent, the report said, adding that they emphasised that the petitioners had played a key role in growing the company into a multimillion-dollar entity and that the statutory auditors had not reported any fraud.
Senior advocates Vikas Pahwa and Dayan Krishnan appeared for the complainant and opposed the issuance of notice on the petition. They argued that the matter involved complex financial transactions which resulted in the defalcation of funds and the petitioners availed input tax credit under GST law with respect to bogus transactions and indulged in siphoning off funds and forged certain documents.
The EOW registered the FIR earlier this year under eight sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 406 which deals with criminal breach of trust, 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467, and 468 (forgery).
According to BharatPe’s complaint, Ashneer Grover and his family allegedly caused damages of approximately Rs 81.3 crore. The alleged damages were attributed to illegitimate payments made to bogus human resource consultants, inflated and unjustified payments through vendors associated with the accused, sham transactions related to input tax credit and penalty payments to GST authorities, illegal payments to travel agencies, forged invoices by Madhuri Jain, and the destruction of evidence.
Madhuri Jain, who served as the head of controls at BharatPe, was terminated in 2022 following a forensic audit that uncovered several irregularities. Subsequently, Ashneer Grover resigned as CEO in March 2022.
The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for September 25, the report said.