After extortion saga ends, Sonia Dhawan receives her share of ESOPs from Paytm


After the entire episode of Paytm accusing Sonia Dhawan and troop of blackmail and extortion and Dhawan spending 5 months in jail before finally being let out on bail, Paytm has given her ESOPs.

Recent filings with MCA, reveal that Paytm has disbursed Rs 60 lakhs worth ESOPs to its employees in past one months. The first tranche went out in mid-May where the small number of packages went out to numerous employees.

The largest bundles were then handed out to Vikas Garg, Sr. VP – Legal and Finance at Paytm,  Nehul Malhotra, ex-payment merchants management at Paytm, and Amit Sinha, to be ex-COO at Paytm Mall.

The latest tranche, however, sees big names like Deepak Abbot (Sr VP – Paytm), Sudhanshu Gupta (ex-VP – Paytm), Nitin Misra (Sr. VP – Paytm), Ankit Gera (User Growth and Marketing Head – Paytm), Abhishek Rajan (Travel marketplace Head – Paytm), and last but not the least Sonia Dhawan (Corp. Comm. Head – Paytm).

Dhawan’s new shares are worth a small amount of Rs 4.44 lakhs. However, that is a small number considering Dhawan already holds Rs 10 crore worth of ESOPs.

All these shares are just a part of the ESOP vesting process where these employees were expected to be allotted these shares in the current year based on the contract signed long back.

What is surprising here is that even after everything, Dhawan was still issued her share of ESOPs. As per The Hindu report that was published when Sonia and her husband along with two other Paytm employees were arrested in the extortion case, she was supposed to receive 3,000-4,000 shares in current fiscal.

But that was before, Sonia had spent 5 months in jail for blackmailing Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the CEO of Paytm and his brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma for Rs 20 crores with her team of 3 other people. And all this is what the brothers accused her of.

After 5 months of being denied bail, she was suddenly granted to be let of jail, and then started this bizarre sequence of events. She reportedly rejoined Paytm after all this, and now she is even rewarded with her promised share of ESOPs.

If she was so much of a criminal that she had to spend 5 months in jail, and caused this much harm to the company, how is it that she is still given her ESOPs? If this case wasn’t fishy enough already, it is now even more so.

The entire accusation around Dhawan blackmailing the owners for Rs 20 crore didn’t make sense, as she already had equity of Rs 10 crore and earned Rs 70 lakhs per annum from the firm. Other than that, she had always been a model employee of the firm.

Now, Paytm accepting her back with open arms goes on to justify, that she wasn’t at fault anywhere, and there was something else going on behind the curtains in this matter.

What? Can’t say for sure.

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