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[UPDATE: Gupta denies 'ill-advised' allegation strongly] Grant Thornton, much miffed, vows to sue CAM lateral Kunal Gupta: Claims broke contract

Grant Thornton has threatened to sue for breach of contract former Grant Thornton senior forensics team member Kunal Gupta, who was poached to join Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as a partner, as reported earlier this week.

A statement from the global accountancy and consultancy firm, sent to Legally India by one of the firm’s India partners, alleged that Gupta was never a partner at Grant Thornton, as stated on his Linked-in profile or in the Cyril Amarchand press release, but had been an executive director.

The statement also alleged that Gupta breached his contractual obligation to Grant Thornton, which “intends to pursue all available remedies including possible legal action, if required, in furtherance of this contract”.

Update 20:36: Gupta has responded with a statement of his own rebutting Grant Thornton's allegation that he had misrepresented his partnership. Read his statement in full below.  

He wrote:

I am extremely shocked and hurt by the allegations made by GT. I will separately be writing to GT on contractual matters, which are completely baseless but would also like to clarify my position to you.

I was an Executive Director (which is equivalent to a Partner) and was treated as a partner for all practical purposes, both within GT and externally. This is borne out by how the firm represents me as a partner to clients, including charging me out at partner rates. This is also the case with other ED's within the system, who are represented as partners. In addition, it is also used a pitch to attract talent by the firm as an inducement.

Here is the scan of the tombstone that GT awarded me on my admission to partnership.

Gupta included a scan of the "tombstone"  Grant Thornton had awarded him to congratulate his admission to its partnership, included a screenshot of a Facebook post by Grant Thornton on its page referring to him as a partner,  and a Grant Thornton brochure implying that he was a partner at the firm. 

He added in his statement:

There are numerous pitches and mandates which are shared with the clients, where I am represented as a partner by GT. It is quite clear that GT's allegations are clearly motivated and baseless.

My representation as a partner is completely consistent with how the firm has represented me before the clients and internally. I reserve the right to take appropriate legal action against GT for defamation for attacks on my reputation and other issues relating to my exit from the firm and I will also be defending any legal action should GT be ill advised to do so at their risk and cost. I will also place all the above material and more if so required at the appropriate forum in order to demonstrate the incorrectness of GT's allegations.

Grant Thornton’s statement in full:

Mr. Kunal Gupta was an Executive Director and not partner at Grant Thornton. Further, Mr. Gupta has failed to honor his obligations (including notice period) under his contract with Grant Thornton.

Grant Thornton intends to pursue all available remedies including possible legal action, if required, in furtherance of this contract.

Grant Thornton is disappointed at such unprofessional and unethical conduct of Mr. Gupta.

It is shameful that a lawyer from NLSIU Bangalore and Harvard Law School fails to honor his obligations under a simple contract and misrepresents his position at Grant Thornton.

We have reached out to Gupta and Cyril Amarchand managing partner Cyril Shroff for comment.

Cyril Amarchand’s press release, after the original report of the news, had stated:

Prior to joining Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Kunal was a partner with Grant Thornton in India, having led a multi-disciplinary team catering diverse industry segments such as Retail, Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices, Automotive, Real Estate and IT/ITES Prior to Grant Thornton, he was at PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC) at New Delhi and also at the World Bank, Washington DC as part of the Integrity Vice Presidency, where he was involved in large, multi-country investigations involving fraud and corruption in World Bank financed projects across the world.

Kunal is a 2006 Erasmus Mundus Scholar, having obtained his European Master in Law & Economics from the Erasmus University, University of Ghent & Hamburg University. Further, he holds a BA LLB (Hons) degree from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and a LL M from the Harvard Law School, 2008, where he was also the editorial staff for the Harvard Journal on Legislation.

Kunal Gupta rebuttal of Grant Thornton's statement (PDF)

 

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