A vice president at Paytm and her husband were among three people arrested in Noida on Monday in connection with an attempt to extort money from the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma and his brother, The Indian Express reported. Sonia Dhawan, the corporate communications vice president, has served as Sharma’s secretary earlier.
Dhawan’s husband Rupak Jain and another Paytm employee, Devendra Kumar, were also arrested. A fourth accused, Rohit Chomal, also a Paytm employee in Kolkata, is on the run.
Sharma’s brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma filed a case against the four persons on Monday morning, alleging that they had threatened to leak the personal data of the company’s founder. The extortion calls were allegedly made by Chomal.
“Rohit [Chomal] made the first call to Ajay on September 20, and then a WhatsApp call to his brother Vijay,” an unidentified police officer told The Indian Express. “He informed them that he has their personal data and secret information, and demanded Rs 10 crore. He asked them to transfer the money to his bank account, and threatened to put the information in public domain if they did not comply.”
Ajay Shekhar Sharma coaxed Chomal into telling him the names of his associates in exchange for the entire amount, an officer was quoted as saying. The First Information Report said that the accused had illegally accessed data from Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s computer and mobile phone. The accused were booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for theft, extortion, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Police are investigating the nature of the information the accused had allegedly accessed.
The Indian Express quoted a Paytm statement as saying: “The employee [Dhawan] along with two other accomplices attempted to extort money from Vijay Shekhar Sharma on the pretext of leaking his personal data. We are standing by our colleagues till the police enquiry [sic] reaches its meaningful conclusion.”