Noida police yesterday arrested three employees of fintech major Paytm in an extortion case involving the company's founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma. The three employees, including his secretary for the past several years, allegedly threatened to leak personal data and confidential information, if they were not paid Rs 20 crore.
Noida police released a video statement on Twitter following the arrests. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ajay Pal Sharma, also told PTI that they had received a complaint from Vijay Shekhar Sharma that four employees had been trying to blackmail him by demanding Rs 20 crore to not leak the data they had allegedly stolen. Besides the three employees arrested, a fourth accused is said to be on the run.
According to an ANI report, the police chief said the Paytm founder's long-term assistant is said to be the mastermind behind the alleged extortion bid. One media report said that the extortion calls began in late September, after which the Paytm founder and his brother attempted to trace the source of the stolen data.
The exact nature of the data is unclear at this time. However, the FIR registered at the Sector 20 police station cited IPC Sections 381, 384, 386, 420, 408 and 120B, which include theft, extortion, cheating, criminal breach of trust and being party to a criminal conspiracy. Charges under the IT Act have also been filed.
Paytm released a statement confirming the arrests: “The employee along with two other accomplices attempted to extort money from Vijay Shekhar Sharma on the pretext of leaking his personal data,” the statement said, adding, “We are standing by our colleagues till the police enquiry reaches its meaningful conclusion.”