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Probe Against Flipkart’s Binny Bansal Says ‘Consensual Affair’

An independent probe into alleged "serious personal misconduct" by Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal concluded that Bansal and the complainant woman had a consensual affair, Bloomberg reported, quoting two persons with direct knowledge of the matter.

Bansal had stepped down immediately following the probe into the allegations of sexual harassment which he strongly denied.

While one of the two persons told Bloomberg that the accusation came in late July, the other said the woman never worked in Flipkart. However, according to a report in The Economic Times ,the woman worked with Flipkart till 2012 but she complained to the company four years later, when she came in contact with Bansal again. Flipkart could not substantiate the charges against its co-founder in 2016, the sources told ET. It is unclear if the accusations were formally investigated by the company.

In July earlier this year, the woman approached Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, two months after the US giant had announced acquisition of majority stake in Flipkart.

Walmart then asked an international law firm to look into the allegations.

Walmart ‘Irked’ By Non-Disclosure Of Complaint

Walmart was reportedly irked that Bansal did not disclose the 2016 allegation during the negotiations with Flipkart, sources told The Economic Times.

The Walmart-initiated probe also found payments that were allegedly made to the complainant, the report said.

Although Walmart said that the charges against Bansal could not be “corroborated”, the company’s statement also mentioned “other lapses of judgement” and the “lack of transparency”.

Binny Bansal ‘Stunned’ By Allegations

Bansal has denied the sexual harassment allegations, saying the charges have “stunned” him, The Times of India reported on 13 November, quoting an e-mail sent by him to his 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. These have been challenging times for my family and me. I am concerned that this may become a distraction for the company and the team. In light of these circumstances, I feel it is best to step away as chairman and group CEO,” Bansal wrote.

He further said he was mulling moving out of the Walmart group.

“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 said.

He also said he will continue to be a large shareholder in the company and serve as a member of the board of directors.

Also Read: Here’s What Binny Bansal Has to Say About His Flipkart Exit

(With inputs from The Times of India and The Economic Times)

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