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May 24, 2024

Delhi High Court Demands Rs 80 Crore Security from Ashneer Grover and Wife for US Travel

The Delhi High Court has imposed stringent conditions on Ashneer Grover, co-founder of BharatPe, and his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover, former HR director at the payments firm, requiring them to furnish security worth Rs 80 crore prior to their travel to the United States. This decision was issued on May 24, in response to allegations of fraud involving Rs 81 crore at BharatPe.

The court stipulated that the security must be in the form of a property. Additionally, Grover and his wife were ordered to surrender their Emirates Cards to the court, which effectively bars them from visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they hold ‘golden visas’. These visas grant foreign nationals a 10-year residence permit, allowing them to live, work, or study in the UAE.

Despite the serious fraud accusations, the court granted permission for the Grovers to travel separately to the US for their children’s summer school. This travel arrangement comes with stringent conditions, including the submission of detailed itineraries, stay arrangements, hotel bookings, and contact numbers to both the court and the investigating agencies.

Justice Subramonium Prasad specified that during the period one of the parties is abroad, the other must remain in India as a form of ‘mortgage’. Grover is set to leave for the US on May 26 and return on June 14, while Jain will travel on June 15 and return on July 1. The court further directed that the couple must not transfer any of their BharatPe shares to third parties during this period.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) opposed their travel request, expressing concerns over the couple’s potential flight risk, given their property holdings abroad. The EOW highlighted the ongoing critical investigation stage, particularly noting Jain’s alleged lack of cooperation and certain suspicious transactions that have recently emerged.

In light of these concerns, a Look Out Circular (LOC) was issued against the Grovers at the EOW’s request, prohibiting them from leaving India without prior court approval. This legal measure underscores the severity of the fraud allegations against them and aims to ensure their presence during the ongoing investigation.

The court’s decision reflects a balance between allowing the couple to meet family obligations while ensuring they remain within the legal framework during the investigation. The Rs 80 crore security requirement, the confiscation of their Emirates Cards, and the strict travel conditions highlight the court’s intent to mitigate any risk of non-compliance with legal proceedings.

In summary, the Delhi High Court’s directive to Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain Grover underscores the gravity of the fraud allegations they face and the judiciary’s efforts to ensure accountability and cooperation during the investigation. The stringent conditions placed on their travel reflect a cautious approach to prevent any potential evasion of justice while balancing their personal commitments.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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