Binny Bansal resignation: Did Walmart use it as a ruse to edge the last of founders out?

Flipkart Reuters

One of the most popular Indian startup CEOs and the Chairman of Flipkart, Binny Bansal came to know about the investigations probing allegations of "personal misconduct" against him on Monday. Lawyers from US retailer Walmart had a conversation with him and the following day he resigned from his position with the immediate effect and Walmart wasted no time in accepting his resignation.

Notably, the US retail giant Walmart had initiated an inquiry against Binny Bansal in July 2018 and after thorough investigations, it found no evidence to corroborate the charges. But Walmart framed a case of "serious personal misconduct" in the way issue was handled by Bansal. The media reports are claiming that the case involves a consensual relationship ending on a bitter note. Walmart has highlighted "lack of transparency'' from Bansal's end.

But the handling of the case against one of India's most successful young entrepreneur by Walmart is also questionable. Since the story broke out, Walmart has controlled the flow of information from its end and media is speculating under the clouds of uncertainties.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Kannan Ramaswamy, a professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University said that "Like it or not, Bansal is one of the very successful entrepreneurs in the country and India likes to claim such heroes as its own, so I don't think this issue will disappear. There has to be more information forthcoming."

Although the woman involved alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Binny Bansal in 2016, the timing of the allegations made by the victim publicly is questionable as it floated just after Walmart announced a 77 percent of the takeover of India's e-tailer major. There are media reports that Walmart management was upset with the fact that Binny did not reveal the issue at the time when two sides were negotiating on the deal.

Moreover, since the beginning of the deliberations of majority sale, Walmart wanted one of the co-founders out of the company which has forced Sachin Bansal to resign from all of his responsibilities from the company.