Vijay Shekhar Sharma sits in his office. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Three Held For Blackmailing Paytm Boss With Stolen Personal Data

Two Paytm employees were among the three persons arrested today for allegedly trying to extort Rs 20 crore from the company’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma. They threatened to leak stolen personal data and information, the Noida Police said.

The alleged mastermind of the extortion bid is Sharma’s secretary. She and the two others had threatened to leak the data and misuse the information to cause the firm loss and dent its public image, officials said.

The three employees of the Noida-headquartered firm were arrested by a team from the Sector 20 police station, while their fourth accomplice is still at large, a senior official said.

“The owner of Paytm had made a complaint with the police that their employees, a woman and her aides, had stolen some data from the company and were blackmailing. They were demanding Rs 20 crore for not leaking it,” Senior Superintendent of Police of Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ajay Pal Sharma, said.

According to the police, those arrested are Sharma’s secretary (identity withheld), her husband Roopak Jain, and another Paytm employee Devendra Kumar. The fourth accused, Rohit Chomal, is a resident of Kolkata and had allegedly made the extortion call to Sharma’s brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma.

“Taking immediate action, an FIR was registered and three persons were arrested. They are being probed about the data and their modus operandi. Police will share the facts as they are unearthed,” Sharma said. The SSP said they will seek their custody to interrogate them further and gather more details. Police were not clear as to what kind of data was stolen.

He said that the local police are in touch with their counterparts in Kolkata to track down Chomal.

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The FIR was registered at Sector 20 police station and the accused were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 381 (theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master), 384 (extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt), 420 (cheating), 408 (Criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant) and 120 B (party to a criminal conspiracy).

Charges under the provisions of the Information Technology Act have also been pressed against the accused, the police said. When contacted, Paytm confirmed in a statement that the Noida Police had arrested three people for an extortion bid.

“The employee along with two other accomplices attempted to extort money from Vijay Shekhar Sharma on the pretext of leaking his personal data,” the company said. “We’re standing by our colleagues till the police enquiry reaches its meaningful conclusion.”

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