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Razorpay deactivates, then restores AltNews payment link

On Saturday, AltNews co-founder Mohammad Zubair, arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments following a complaint over a 2018 tweet, was sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

mohammed zubairMohammmed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News, at the Patiala house court in New Delhi. (File)

Hours after fact-checking portal AltNews said the link through which it receives donations was deactivated by Razorpay, the payments provider restored the link, saying it had disabled the account from its platform “temporarily, as a safety precaution, during the preliminary investigation by law enforcement authorities”.

In a statement on Monday, AltNews said while many people had reached out to them about donations, the company was “unable to receive donations at this point as Razorpay, the payment platform we were using to receive donations, has disabled our account”.

AltNews stated, “We are in the process of shifting our donation system to a new platform, and will inform our readers and supporters when we have made the shift.”

On Saturday, AltNews co-founder Mohammad Zubair, arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments following a complaint over a 2018 tweet, was sent to judicial custody for 14 days. The prosecutor opposed his bail application, contending that an investigation was underway into donations he allegedly received from abroad, including Pakistan.

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During the hearing, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told the court that Zubair “accepted payments through RazorPay from Pakistan, Syria, Australia, Singapore, UAE, which all require further investigation”. Delhi Police also said that the parent company of AltNews has received more than Rs 2 lakh in foreign funding.

AltNews has denied both claims.

In response to queries by The Indian Express, asking why Razorpay deactivated AltNews’s account, a spokesperson for the fintech company said it was disabled temporarily and was reactivated “following clarity on the issue”.

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“Razorpay is a law-abiding, fully compliant organisation that is relentlessly working towards building the financial backbone for Indian merchants. 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. We have extended our full cooperation to law enforcement authorities…”

The company did not immediately respond to a query asking it to elaborate on what it meant by receiving “clarity on the issue”, and if it found that the payment link was not used to receive donations from abroad, as claimed by Delhi Police in court.

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First published on: 05-07-2022 at 03:52:11 am
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