Grover family comprising of Ashneer Grover and his better-half Madhuri Jain were stopped at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi as the officials had a ‘look-out-circular’ (LoC) against them. The family was flying to New York city.
Grover case : What is a ‘look-out circular’ (LoC)?
Lookout Notices are also known as Lookout Circulars (LOC), which are opened to trace absconding criminals. Also, to effectively prevent and monitor the entry and exit of individuals who may be required by law enforcement authorities.
The basic guidelines (regarding the publication of the LOCs in relation to Indian citizens) are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
If the immigration officers of a country have Lookout Circular against any absconding offender then the absconding person can be nabbed by the officer. As we randomly listen to the news that a particular offender is caught at a particular airport or port.
The basic guidelines regarding the publication of the LOCs in relation to Indian citizens issued by the MHA have the following four principles:
1. The request to issue LOC must be issued with the approval of an officer, not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India/Joint Secretary in the State Government/Superintendent of Police concerned at the district level.
2. Lookout Notice for all immigration check posts against any Indian person can be issued only in the format prepared by the Home Ministry.
3. The notice issuing agency must give full identification details of the accused person in an already prescribed format. LOC will not be issued for less than three identity parameters other than the name of the accused.
4. Generally Lookout Notice is valid for one year from the date of issue. However, if the originating agency wants to increase the period of this notice, it may do so before the completion of one year.
Since 2011 a rule made that if no request is made for the extension of the LOC within the stipulated period of one year, the concerned Immigration officer is authorised to suspend the LOC.
Keep in mind that in the case Lookout Notices are issued by the Court and Interpol, Lookout Notices do not expire within one year.
The accused person comes to know about such notice only when he/she is stopped or arrested by the immigration authorities at the airport/border etc.
The details explained about the Grover and BharatPe tussle
On January 19, 2022, Ashneer Grover co-founder and MD of the UPI company BharatPe took a voluntary leave until the end of March of that year. The voluntary leave was the aftermath of a leaked phone recording between Grover and a Kotak Bank employee.
The employee was being abused harshly by allegedly Ashneer because he was unable to sanction a certain amount which was about to be used for the then being launched Nykaa IPO
. The BharatPe founder at first denied all the allegations and claimed it to be a misused way of extorting money from him. Later on it was revealed that Kotak Bank had filed a case for the ‘inappropriate language’ used against their employee.
After further investigation psychological experts were swift enough to point out the toxic work culture at BharatPe and the God Syndrome. Grover was seen as a stern personality even in the reality show, SharkTank. His strong command over suggestions were seen as toxic and media also blamed him to have abusive and strong language which had become a culture at BharatPe.
God Syndrome is described to a person when an entrepreneur single-handedly drives his company to the highest level and then feels he is unbeatable. In a nutshell, the excessive amount of pride and over-confidence had become the highlight of his career.
Later in December of the same year, Grover was charged with embezzling money worth 81 crore Rupees. BharatPe had filed the charge and accused Grover of misusing the company documents and his authority to forge documents and using company’s money. However, he denied all the charges saying he is ‘in the right’.
In the chargesheet it was named as the Grover family had been paying money to non-existent firms and HR companies a certain amount of money. Later on, it was revealed that all of the money was being embezzled and the worth was 81 crore Rupees.
The Grover family mainly Ashneer Grover was charged under the Indian Penal Codes (IPC) section 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 408 (criminal breach of trust by a clerk or an employee), 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant, merchant, agent or banker), 420 (cheating and dishonestly delivering of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using a genuine as forged) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy).
On the other hand, BharatPe welcomed the charges and accepted all of the accusations slammed on the company’s former founder. BharatPe at the time said “it is a step in the right direction”.