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Monday, May 27, 2024

Delhi HC: Judge Warns BharatPe And Its Ex-Boss Ashneer Grover, be Courteous

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today advised payments app BharatPe and its estranged co-founder Ashneer Grover to be civil to each other even after their split.

Justice Navin Chawla, hearing BharatPe’s suit against Grover, its former MD, and his family members to stop them from making alleged defamatory statements, accused social media of “bringing us down to this level” and asked the parties’ lawyers to accordingly ” advise’ to their respective clients.

While the plaintiff company’s senior lawyer argued that Grover continued to make objectionable statements despite the pendency of the case, the latter’s lawyer said there was “slander, accusation and slander” on both sides, claiming that the other side had even leaked information to the media.

“Social media has actually brought us down to this level. What are we doing here? Basically, they should be civil to each other… You’re out, fight your lawsuit,” the court noted.

“Please advise him (Grover). If there is anything, also tell Mr (Rajiv) Nayar (representing BharatPe) that his client has done it. He will also be advised,” the court told Grover’s lawyer.

Grover’s attorney said he filed for arbitration, arguing that the alleged defamation suit could not have been brought by the company to plead the cause of its officials when he has always praised the company.

The plaintiff’s senior attorney is sad that the matter will be “tested in court” and Grover should exercise restraint.

The court gave Grover and the other defendants time to file a response in the matter and asked the plaintiff to consider creating a “confidentiality club” that would allow them access to certain materials.

“Have a confidentiality club and show it to him. He’ll look,” the court said.

Last year, a court issued subpoenas to Ashneer Grover, his wife, and other defendants in a lawsuit filed by a fintech firm that accused the pair of misappropriating funds. Grover resigned from the company in March and his wife was removed from her post.

In the suit, apart from seeking to restrain the defendants from making defamatory statements, the company also sought directions to pay over ₹88.67 crores along with interest to recover the alleged misappropriated funds and reputational damage caused to the firm.

The plaintiff had previously claimed in court that Grover, his wife, and other relatives had waged a “malicious and venomous” campaign against the company, which has a large number of foreign investors.

Apart from Grover and his wife, the company has lined up as defendants – Deepak Gupta, Suresh Jain, and Shwetank Jain, who are all relatives of the couple and have been appointed to various positions in the company.

As an interim measure, the company asked the defendants to delete or remove all statements made in tweets, social media posts, books, re-tweets, hashtags, videos, press conferences, interviews, and comments against the company within five days.

It also sought the freedom to approach social media platforms, media houses, publications, and others for the deletion of such material.

The matter will be discussed further on March 13.

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