BharatPe conflict escalates over allegations of data theft
Ashneer Grover: Bhavik Koladiya has pulled off India’s biggest data theft at BharatPe
18 February 2023
Koladiya has been accused of India's biggest data theft by BharatPe's former CEO Grover in an email on February 6, alleging that Koladiya has misused his position.
By collecting the personal information of over 150 million users of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) app.
In response, Koladiya denied the allegations and stated that Grover is retaliating after being removed from BharatPe.
Accusing the estranged co-founder Bhavik Koladiya of stealing details of around 150 million users of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) app, Ashneer Grover, BharatPe's co-founder, alleges that Koladiya "pulled off the biggest data theft in India till date."
According to Moneycontrol, Grover, the former MD of BharatPe, reported allegations of data theft via email to the National Payments Council of India (NPCI). The fintech firm's independent director, Kaushik Dutta, was notified of the alleged theft by whistleblowers within the organization.
“It was a grave mistake of giving him a chance at redemption at Bharate Pe, which he used to pull off the biggest data theft in India till date,” Grover wrote, referring to Koladiya's conviction in the United States in a credit card fraud case.
On February 6, the 40-year-old accused Koladiya of carrying out a 'very systematic fraud' in an email.
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Grover claimed that while still working at BharatPe, the accused formed another company named Otpless Solutions Private Limited in the name of his wife Dharti in 2021 and transferred all the confidential data of BharatPe to this new company. He also allegedly hired BharatPe's core team over time. The whistleblowers claimed that the current management of the fintech giant, led by Chairman and former State Bank of India chief Rajnish Kumar, is attempting to suppress them.
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Koladiya strongly denied the charge. “These are nothing but an act of retaliation and frustration on his part, resulting from his removal at BharatPe, and my ongoing legal suit against him at the Delhi high court. I take the privacy and secrecy of our users very seriously,” Koladiya said of Grover.
BharatPe fiercely protects the data of its customers and called the allegations of selling data "malicious and completely baseless." The company explained that OTPless is a service provider that only enables verification via WhatsApp and is used by less than 10% of its merchant base.