In a shocking revelation by UP police, Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma was blackmailed for Rs 20 crore by none other than his own secretary and three other accomplices for a while.
According to an FIR registered by Noida police, Sonia Dhawan, VP Corporate Communications / Public Relations and personal secretary to Sharma, her husband Rupak Jain and Devendra Kumar have been arrested. The fourth accused Rohit Chomal is on the run.
Chomal is a Kolkata-based resident and said to have made calls to Sharma’s brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma for extortion.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ajay Pal Sharma, who led the case revealed that the police received a complaint from Vijay Shekhar Sharma that their employees, including Dhawan are trying to blackmail him with personal data that they had stolen from the company.
In a statement to Mint Paytm confirmed the arrest, “The employee along with two other accomplices attempted to extort money from Vijay Shekhar Sharma on the pretext of leaking his personal data.” The company said, “We are standing by our colleagues till the police enquiry reaches its meaningful conclusion.”
He added that the employees were demanding Rs 20 crore for not leaking the data they have stolen.
— NOIDA POLICE (@noidapolice) October 22, 2018
The accused are booked under IPC 381/384/386/420/408/120B and IT Act 66. The police also said that the accused are being probed about the data and their modus operandi.
While nature, magnitude and importance of stolen data are yet to be ascertained, Dhawan alleged involvement in the extortion has come as shock for media and many people in startup ecosystem. She has been the go-to person for media and other strategic communications at Paytm.
Although there has been incidents where former Paytm employees have been booked for tricking users, involvement of a senior employee in an extortion bid has surfaced for the very first time.
Eight months ago, a Paytm employee along with five more accomplices had booked by CBI for cheating the Noida-based company through barging into its internal system.
Also, the case raises some questions like – What informations could junior employees have? Will they potentially steal vital data that can threaten a large company like Paytm and its supremo Sharma? There are no answer to such questions at the moment. More light on the case would get clear as investigation and trial progress.