A day after fact-checking website AltNews’ Razorpay account, meant to accept donations, was temporarily disabled in connection with the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) case against co-founder Mohammed Zubair, Delhi Police said they had only asked the fintech company to furnish details of accounts and transactions, and that the firm disabled the payment process themselves.
AltNews, meanwhile, said Razorpay had “handed over donor data to the police”.
Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Cyber Crime Unit last week for allegedly hurting religious sentiments over a 2018 tweet. He has been sent to 14-day judicial custody. His counsel had moved a bail application, which was rejected by the court after the Delhi Police claimed they are also probing FCRA violations.
On Monday, AltNews released a statement that people were not able to donate as the donation link was deactivated by Razorpay. Soon after, Razorpay said the account had been reactivated “following clarity on the issue”. “…the merchant (AltNews) account was deactivated from Razorpay platform temporarily, as a safety precaution, during the preliminary investigation by the law enforcement authorities,” a spokesperson for Razorpay said. “Following clarity on the issue, we have unblocked and reactivated the account.”
Senior police officers claimed they had asked Razorpay to share transaction and account details, but did not put in a request to deactivate payments. A senior officer said, “We approached Razorpay about the donations and asked them for account details. They asked us if we wanted to freeze their account. We said there was no need since our investigation pertains to donations made from foreign accounts. They themselves took action against AltNews. We have received account and transaction details from the company.”
DCP (Cyber Crime) KPS Malhotra had earlier said that they wrote to Razorpay and, based on the company’s reply, found that Zubair and his organisation were allegedly receiving money from foreign countries.
Meanwhile, AltNews released a second statement: “…allegations of AltNews having received funds from foreign sources from whom we cannot receive donations are false… Razorpay handed over donor data to the police. This was done without informing us, or without even a preliminary investigation of any violation on the part of Alt News,” reads the statement.
In response, Razorpay also released a statement: “While we strive to ensure transactions on the platform are safe, but at the same time… we are fully abiding and compliant with all necessary laws and regulations of India. We had received a written order from the legal authorities under Section 91 CrPC and we are mandated to comply with the same as per the regulation under the provisions of Indian law.”