After the startling news of Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s close aide and one of his oldest employees, Sonia Dhawan, being arrested on the charges of blackmailing him became public, there has been no end to the conspiracy theories surrounding this development.
Sonia’s lawyer has now responded to the allegations by saying that that the promoters of Paytm were pressurising her to sell her stake in the company and she has been framed.
“There is definitely an element of conspiracy. The promoters were pressurising her to sell her stake,” said Sonia’s lawyer Prashant Tripathi.
In the FIR, the victims also showed WhatsApp conversation made during the period and deposited Rs 2.67 lakh in two tranches on October 10 and 15.
On Tuesday, a court sent all the three accused to jail for 14 days. In an official statement, the Noida Police said the accused had accessed “personal data and secret information of Paytm” since Dhawan used to keep all this information under her watch as Sharma’s private secretary.
However, Tripathi has raised the question that how can someone disclose Dhawan identity without receiving the ransom.
He also said that Dhawan and her husband had received an extortion call of Rs 5 crore on September 22, two days after Sharma received a similar call. The caller threatened to malign Dhawan’s image and harm her family if their demand would fail to meet, explained Tripathi.
Dhawan’s family members, who were distraught after hearing the news, feel that she has been falsely implicated.
“She was promoted to the position of the Vice-President (corporate communications) of Paytm just a month ago. She has been associated with this company for almost 10 years. Why would she want to do something like this?” he said, adding that they have not been able to speak to her after her arrest.
Dhawan, her husband Roopak Jain, and another Paytm employee Devnedra Kumar were allegedly involved in the blackmailing. The fourth accused, Rohit Chomal, is a resident of Kolkata and had allegedly made the extortion call to Sharma’s brother Ajay Shekhar.
The court has rejected bail to the three accused who have now been sent to judicial custody.
Meanwhile, during a police raid at Dhawan and Devendra residences, sleuths have recovered a pen drive and hard disk containing crucial information. Interrogation revealed that Dhawan’s husband had suffered a loss in real estate business.
The loss triggered him and Dhawan to plan to steal Sharma’s data and blackmail him through the help of another Paytm employee – Devendra.
While new angle to the case like pressuring on selling of stakes may take some more time to unravel, the contradictory statements made in the case raise concerns.