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Paytm’s VP of communications & two others arrested for extortion and data theft

Paytm’s vice president of communications Sonia Dhawan, her husband Rupak Jain and Paytm staffer Devendra Kumar were arrested by Noida police for attempting to extort Rs 10 crore out of Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, reported The Indian Express. Rohit Chomal, the fourth accused and a resident of Kolkata, is on the run.

The four accused were reportedly in possession of stolen data including personal information on Sharma. Ajay Shekhar Sharma, Sharma’s elder brother had already paid Rs 69 lakh after he first received a call on September 20. Ajay Sharma coaxed the names of Chomal’s associates in exchange for the full amount; it was then that Chomal disclosed the three names.

A case was filed against the four for data theft and extortion. under IPC sections 381 (theft), 384 (extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death), 420 (cheating), 408 (breach of trust) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Charges under the Information Technology Act were also pressed.

The police said they are trying to ascertain the nature of information stolen; an officer said it contained the inner workings of Paytm as well as personal information about Sharma.

As per a regulatory filing by Paytm’s parent company One 97 Communications Ltd,  Dhawan held 1,400 shares in the company as of November 2017. A statement by Paytm said the company is “standing by our colleagues till the police enquiry reaches its meaningful conclusion.”

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