Payment gateway Razorpay on Friday said that it had enabled only domestic donations for fact-checking website Alt News, in line with its policy.

Razorpay CEO Harshil Mathur made the statement on Twitter in response to criticism for sharing Alt News’ donor data to the Delhi Police in a criminal case involving journalist Mohammed Zubair. The fact-checking website had alleged on Tuesday that the payment gateway had shared its donor data with the police without informing it.

The Delhi Police have filed a first information report against Zubair, the co-founder of Alt News, in which they have accused him of hurting religious sentiments, causing disappearance of evidence, violating foreign funding norms and criminal conspiracy.

Mathur said on Friday that the company only shared data that was within the scope of investigation with the police. The firm did not share the website’s permanent account number or PAN, address or pin code with the authorities as the scope of investigation was to determine whether the website had received foreign donations, the CEO said.

“While I am not allowed to share the specifics owing to the ongoing investigation, I want to state that the concerned business was only enabled to receive domestic payments in-line with our policy to not allow international transactions without FCRA [Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act] approval for donation pages,” he said.

Mathur said that his company tried to reach out to Alt News’ registered mobile numbers to share this information with them, but could not reach them. “In hindsight, we understand it may have been difficult for them to get on the phone in such a situation and we could have tried to find other channels,” he said.

The Razorpay CEO further said that the company reached out to several legal experts, and “got an undivided view” that it was necessary for it to comply with the police’s legal request.

“The regulations require us to comply with every lawful order of authorities,” Mathur said. “The consequences of not doing so can range from losing our licence to our accounts being frozen – which will adversely impact millions of small businesses and customers, who rely on Razorpay to accept digital payments.”

Alt News had also said on July 4 that it receives donations only from Indian banks accounts and that its payment platform does not allow receipt of funds from foreign sources.

It had also dismissed allegations that Zubair received donations in his personal account. The organisation said that individuals associated with it only receive monthly remuneration.

Case against Zubair

Zubair was arrested on June 27 evening for a tweet that he had posted in March 2018. The FIR against him was lodged based on a complaint by Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Arun Kumar, who said he was monitoring social media when he came across the 2018 tweet after a handle named Hanuman Bhakt raised objections to it.

The handle had complained about Zubair’s tweet that showed a hotel signboard with the name “Honeymoon Hotel” repainted to “Hanuman Hotel”. The journalist’s lawyer has argued in the court that the photo is a screenshot taken from a 1983 Hindi movie.