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Framed, threatened and pressurised to sell her ESOPs in Paytm: Sonia Dhawan’s lawyer


Soon after the arrest of Paytm employees including Sonia Dhawan (VP Corporate Communications / Public Relations and personal secretary of Vijay Shekhar Sharma) in the extortion case, speculations in media are coming in galore.

According to the latest update, Dhawan’s lawyer Prashant Tripathi has disclosed some internal matter in the case. Tripathi alleged that she was under pressure to sell her valuable stake in the multi-billion dollar company.

Besides raising concern over contradictory statements in the case, Tripathi outlined that the promoters of Paytm were pressurising Dhawan to sell her stake in the company and she has been framed, reports Moneycontrol.

It’s worth noting that preliminary media reports mentioned about stolen data belonged to the company. Later, Paytm said in a statement that accused were in possession of Sharma’s personal and financial data.

In several media reports, it has been repetitively said that the fourth accused–Rohit Chomal demanded the ransom of Rs 20 crore from Paytm boss’ elder brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma on September 20.

In the FIR, the victims also showed WhatsApp conversation made during the period and deposited Rs 2.67 lakh in two tranches on October 10 and 15.

However, Tripathi has raised the question that how can someone disclose Dhawan identity without receiving the ransom.

He also said that Dhawan and her husband had received an extortion call of Rs 5 crore on September 22, two days after Sharma received a similar call. The caller threatened to malign Dhawan’s image and harm her family if their demand would fail to meet, explained Tripathi.

Data sourced from paper.vc indicates that value of ESOP holding – 0.004 per cent in Paytm and 0.02 per cent in Paytm Mall cumulatively value around Rs 3.2 crore. Besides, Dhawan is also expected to have more ESOPs in other group entities including Paytm Payments Bank and Paytm Money.

Meanwhile, during a police raid at Dhawan and Devendra residences, sleuths have recovered a pen drive and hard disk containing crucial information. Interrogation revealed that Dhawan’s husband had suffered a loss in real estate business.

The loss triggered him and Dhawan to plan to steal Sharma’s data and blackmail him through the help of another Paytm employee – Devendra.

While new angle to the case like pressuring on selling of stakes may take some more time to unravel, the contradictory statements made in the case raise concerns.

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