One year on, key accused in Paytm case still at largehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/key-accused-paytm-case-still-at-large-sonia-dhawan-5976212/

One year on, key accused in Paytm case still at large

Apart from Sonia, her husband Roopak Jain, and Paytm staffer Devendra Jain were arrested on October 23, after a complaint was filed by Ajay alleging personal data theft and extortion at Sector 20 police station. They were arrested for allegedly trying to extort Rs 10 crore from Vijay.

Paytm 'extortion' case: Accused hatched conspiracy to steal data, Noida police files chargesheet
In October 2018, Dhawan was arrested by Noida Police for allegedly trying to extort Rs 10 crore from Sharma. (Express Photo/Gajendra Yadav)

Sonia Dhawan, a vice-president at Paytm who was arrested last year for allegedly conspiring to blackmail the company’s founder, has rejoined the organisation. But Noida police, for the last one year, has struggled to gather evidence against a key accused in the case, Kolkata resident Rohit Chomal, an NGO owner who had allegedly made extortion calls to the firm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and his brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma.

Apart from Sonia, her husband Roopak Jain, and Paytm staffer Devendra Jain were arrested on October 23, after a complaint was filed by Ajay alleging personal data theft and extortion at Sector 20 police station. They were arrested for allegedly trying to extort Rs 10 crore from Vijay.

According to officers, Vijay’s elder brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma had already paid the accused Rs 69 lakh. “Ajay named four accused in his complaint and alleged Chomal made the extortion calls from his phone. He allegedly made the first call to Ajay on September 20, and then a WhatsApp call to his brother Vijay. He asked them to transfer Rs 10 crore to his bank account, and threatened to make certain information public if they did not comply,” an officer said.

Police claimed that the data, which was in the possession of Chomal, included passwords, bank details and company information. After arresting the trio, police had conducted several raids in Kolkata to nab him, but he remained untraced. He then obtained a stay order on his arrest from the Allahabad High Court, which stated police needed “sufficient evidence” to arrest him.

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“The investigation is over and the charges are being framed. The case rests with the prosecution and we will provide every cooperation as and when required during trial. A chargesheet had been submitted in December which elaborates the findings of the police against the accused, including Rohit Chomal,” said Vaibhav Krishna, SSP (Gautam Budh Nagar).

The then SSP (Gautam Budh Nagar) Ajay Pal Sharma had earlier said it had come to light during investigation that Chomal was Devendra’s friend. “He was hired after being assured of 20% of the extortion amount of Rs 10 crore… the phone numbers were provided to him by Devendra, who also visited Kolkata several times,” the SSP said.

An officer said Chomal’s arrest could shed more light on the case and help “tie up loose ends”.

Sonia Dhawan, when contacted, said she is not in a position to comment on the case or her re-joining the company.