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India Startup King Loses Luster After Theft Accusations

  • Ashneer Grover faces accusations of stealing company money
  • He co-founded BharatPe, a widely successful e-payments startup
Ashneer Grover
Ashneer GroverPhotographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg
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In the annals of controversial startup founders, there’s a special place for the likes of Uber’s Travis Kalanick and WeWork’s Adam Neumann. Now, India’s Ashneer Grover could join their ranks.

Within BharatPe, one of the country’s fastest-growing financial technology companies, a ferocious split has divided the startup’s board from Grover, the co-founder and former managing director. In recent days, senior leadership has accused Grover of misappropriating funds. Staff have narrated a long litany of complaints. In a leaked audio recording posted anonymously on Twitter, a man whose voice sounds like Grover’s threatens a bank employee with death for not helping him get shares in a hot initial public offering.