Delhi HC Expedites Trial in BharatPe Co-founder Dispute; Disposes Of Appeal By Shashvat Nakrani

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The bench opted not to overturn the single-judge's decision but expedited the trial proceedings for Nakrani's case

The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of an appeal filed by BharatPe co-founder Shashvat Nakrani against a previous order denying his request to restrain the firm's former Managing Director, Ashneer Grover, from selling or transferring shares Nakrani had sold to him.

A division bench comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Amit Bansal opted not to overturn the single-judge's decision but expedited the trial proceedings for Nakrani's case.

Both parties' counsel presented arguments before reaching an agreement that the appeal could be resolved by directing an expedited trial.

Consequently, the bench instructed the single-judge to frame the issues in the matter by February 28, with the appointment of a local commissioner for evidence recording, to be completed within eight weeks.

Furthermore, both sides were directed to submit affidavits of evidence based on the issues framed by the single-judge. "After evidence recording, the single-judge is directed to promptly proceed with the final arguments," the court said. The bench clarified that all legal questions remain open for further consideration.

Nakrani was represented by Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, along with Advocates Ankit Jain, Mohit Goel, Sidhant Goel, and Neha Jain, while Grover was represented by Advocates Giriraj Subramanium, Sidhant Juyal, and Simarpal Sawhney.

The appeal stemmed from Nakrani's dissatisfaction with the December 15, 2023, order of Justice Sachin Datta, who declined Nakrani's interim plea to prevent Grover from selling or transferring the shares. Instead, Justice Datta instructed Grover to inform the court before any sale or transfer.

BharatPe, founded in March 2018 by Shashvat Nakrani and Bhavik Koladiya, initially had a 50-50 ownership split between them. Ashneer Grover joined as a third co-founder in July 2018, purchasing 3,192 shares (2,447 from Nakrani and 745 from Koladiya for Rs. 10 each).

According to reports, Grover was supposed to pay Rs. 24,470 to Nakrani and Rs. 7,450 to Koladiya for the shares, but he allegedly has not made the payments. Following a share split, the 2,447 shares are now reportedly valued at Rs. 500 crore.

Nakrani's argument revolves around his claim that, although he transferred the shares to Grover, the payment was never received. Meanwhile, Grover contends that Nakrani's case misinterprets the Sale of Goods Act, 1930, and asserts that the contract has been fully executed.

This dispute arises from Grover's purchase of 3,192 shares from Nakrani and another co-founder in 2018, valued now at approximately Rs. 500 crore, according to reports.

The next hearing is scheduled for February 28, 2024.

Case Title: Shashvat Nakrani v. Ashneer Grover