Delhi HC disposes of appeal against single judge's rejection of restraining order on BharatPe's Grover over unpaid shares (Lead)

February 22, 2024
The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of BharatPe's co-founder Shashvat Nakrani’s appeal against a single judge bench's order refusing to grant a restraining order

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of BharatPe’s co-founder Shashvat Nakrani’s appeal against a single judge bench’s order refusing to grant a restraining order against the fintech company’s former Managing Director, Ashneer Grover, in connection with a case filed over claims of unpaid shares.

Justice Sachin Datta had, on December 15 last year rejected the interim application filed by Nakrani in his lawsuit against Grover, seeking to prevent the latter from alienating, transferring, or creating third-party rights in the unpaid shares.

A division bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Amit Bansal has not interfered with the single-judge’s order but expedited the trial of Nakrani’s case.

Talking to IANS, Nakrani said: “The judge has disposed of the appeal and granted relief by expediting the trial process. This trial is set to conclude within 8 weeks, and all questions of law have been left open with the consensus of both parties involved.”

“My team and I are prepared to re-argue all points presented after trial and stake again a legal claim for return of shares once the truth comes out. I would also like to clarify that no relief has been given to any of the involved parties. We eagerly anticipate the trial proceedings and remain hopeful that the truth will prevail. I have complete confidence in the judiciary system.”

Grover also took to X to post his reaction, but deleted it within a few minutes. He had tweeted: “Another day – Another WIN in Court ! Nothing hits you like SUCCESS !! My shares in BharatPe worth ₹1,800 crores are mine.”

“So happy Hon’ble Justice Sachin Datta’s judgement in MY favour has been upheld again in appeal by opposite party (Shashvat Nakrani). Saw the hearing. Again indebted to the Hon’ble High Court bench”.

“Reasons for judgements coming in my favour – 1) Truth and facts on your side, 2) Conduct befitting the facts, 3) Patience and 4) Giri Subramaniam – hot shot lawyer with conviction and confidence to hold his own against formidable senior lawyers like Mr. Rohatgi . What fun !”

During the hearing on Thursday, after arguing the case briefly, the two sides came to a consensus that the appeal can be disposed of with directions to the single judge bench to expedite the trial in the matter.

To this purpose, the bench asked the single judge to frame the issues in the matter on February 28, the next date of hearing. Notably, the single judge bench had clarified that it had declined the interim injunction but had directed Grover to provide prior intimation to Nakrani, if and when, he decides to transfer or alienate the shares in question.

Representing Nakrani, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul had earlier contended that in the case filed by co-founder Bhavik Koladiya on the same lines, the court has issued summons and has asked Grover to not create any third-party rights in respect of the shares in BharatPe.

Kaul had said that it is Grover’s stand that he has paid for the shares in cash.

The court had noted that the case was filed about five years after the shares were stated to have been transferred while Kaul argued for an interim relief.

Giriraj Subramanium, Grover’s counsel, was questioned by Judge Datta if he was prepared to make a statement that no third-party rights would be created over the shares. To this, Subramanium said that he has instructions not to make such a statement.

“The plaintiff has been heard at some length in the interim relief application. Counsel for the defendant says they don’t want to file a response to the application,” the court had said.

Koladiya’s suit seeking to reclaim transferred shares remains pending before another Bench of the High Court. In the case, when the court had earlier asked Grover not to create any third-party rights over the shares, he had informed the court that subject to further directions from the court, he would not make any third-party interest in the 16,110 shares that Koladiya transferred to him and in any rights that accrue to him as a consequence thereof.

The bench of Justice Prateek Jalan had ordered that Grover would be bound by his statement and directed him to file the undertaking. “D1 (Grover) is bound to the aforesaid statement and is directed to file an undertaking.”

Nakrani and Koladiya founded the fintech company in 2017. In 2018, Grover joined the company as the third co-founder.



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