Accused In Paytm Extortion Case Sent To 14 Days Judicial Custody

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Sonia Dhawan had access to all documents and data of the company, police said.

Noida:

Three persons, including two Paytm employees, arrested for blackmailing and making extortion bid on the e-wallet giant's founder Vijay Shekar Sharma were Tuesday remanded to 14-day judicial custody by the magistrate court in Gautam Buddh Nagar, officials said.

Noida Police had Monday arrested the Paytm CEO's secretary Sonia Dhawan, 32, her husband Roopak Jain, 38, and another company employee Devendra Kumar, 30, for allegedly stealing personal information and confidential data and threatening to leak it.

Their fourth associate, Rohit Chomal, who lives in Kolkata, is absconding, police said.

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Police Tuesday carried out searches at the residences of the three arrested and recovered a pen drive containing crucial information and call records along with a hard disk which has some personal and confidential data of the company, according to officials.

During probe, it came to light that being a long time secretary of the CEO, Sonia Dhawan had access to all documents and data of the company, they said.

"Since Dhawan's husband Jain was jobless at the time and had suffered major loss in real estate business so a plan was hatched that she would steal data and give it to Kumar, who works in the administration department of the company, and he would further pass it on to his friend Rohit in Kolkata," the officials said.

Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma said Sonia Dhawan had around 10 months ago conveyed to her boss that she wanted to buy a property for herself in the National Capital Region (NCR).

"When she did not see her communication getting materialised she perhaps opted for this route to make quick money," the police officer told PTI.

He said when the first extortion call was made to the Paytm founder's brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma in September, the amount was decided to be Rs 30 crore which came down to Rs 19 crore after multiple rounds of negotiations.

"When they first made the call on September 20, they demanded Rs 30 crore but later came down to Rs 20 crore. It was much later with a couple of rounds of negotiations that the accused settled for Rs 10 crore," the police officer said.

According to police officials, the accused had even got Rs 2.67 lakh as initial instalments by Mr Sharma, who then approached police and got an FIR registered on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the judicial magistrate on Tuesday denied bail to the three accused and remanded them to 14-day judicial custody, Mr Sharma said.

The police have also seized from Sonia Dhawan's Noida residence the print outs of WhatsApp chats that were made between the accused and the Sharma brothers besides four mobile phones used in the crime.

Mr Sharma said Noida Police is now looking to track down Rohit who is absconding since the extortion case came to light.

"We are in touch with the Kolkata Police and Rohit is our main target now. We are hopeful of getting him under arrest in the next few days," he said.

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