New Delhi: The investigation into Flipkart Group CEO Binny Bansal that led to his resignation on Tuesday stemmed from an allegation of sexual assault that dates back a few years, sources told CNBC-TV18.
"In late July ... an allegation came to us. It was a claim of sexual assault against Binny," the source said. The accuser was a former Flipkart associate and was not working with the online retailer at the time of making the allegation.
The investigation conducted by a global law firm could not corroborate the allegation. It did, however, surface a lack of transparency and inadequate disclosures on Binny’s part, Walmart Inc, which took over Flipkart in May this year, said in a statement.
Bansal strongly denied the allegation of “serious personal misconduct” but did not disclose the details. He said the developments had accelerated his decision to step down from the company he set up 11 years ago.
Walmart, in its statement, said Bansal had resigned as group chief executive officer following an independent probe conducted by a law firm into the allegations against Bansal, without revealing their nature.
The Flipkart co-founder said he was 'stunned' by the charges. He added that these events relate to a claim of serious personal misconduct made against him, "which was uncorroborated after a thorough investigation completed by an independent law firm".
He added that he will continue to remain a large shareholder and board member of the now Walmart-owned firm.
"For some time, I have been mulling over the right time to step away from an operating role at Flipkart Group. My plan was to continue in my current role for a few more quarters to continue the transition after closing the deal with Walmart. However, my decision to step down has been accelerated by certain personal events that have taken place in the recent past," he wrote in an email to employees.
"The allegations left me stunned and I strongly deny them. The investigation, however, did bring to light lapses in judgment, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how I responded to the situation," he said.
Bansal said these have been "challenging times" for him and his family, and in light of these circumstances, he felt it was best to step away as chairman and Group CEO.
He had co-founded Flipkart in 2007 with his IIT-Delhi batchmate Sachin Bansal. Sachin left the company following its USD 16-billion acquisition by US retail behemoth Walmart in May.