PAN, address of Alt News donors not shared with police, says Razorpay

Razorpay CEO issues statement after Alt News has said donor data shared without informing it

July 08, 2022 11:35 pm | Updated July 09, 2022 09:56 am IST - New Delhi

Razorpay CEO and co-founder Harshil Mathur. Photo: Special Arrangement

Razorpay CEO and co-founder Harshil Mathur. Photo: Special Arrangement

After fact-checking website Alt News said its payments gateway Razorpay had shared its donor data with the Delhi Police without informing it, company CEO and co-founder Harshil Mathur on Friday issued a statement explaining their position on the matter.

While Mr. Mathur did not directly refer to Alt News, he said the company had received a written request from the police under Section 91 of the Cr.PC to share transaction records of "a specific business for a specific time period" for FCRA investigation.

He said they immediately reached out to the police authorities concerned, sent a "senior leader" from Bengaluru to Delhi for this, and consulted multiple legal experts, and "got a unanimous view that we have to comply with the request".

"We temporarily deactivated the business account awaiting clarity on the purpose of investigation, in line with our policy, to safeguard and prevent consumer losses. As soon as we got that clarity, we immediately re-enabled payments for them," he said.

Mr. Mathur added that the "specific data we shared was only restricted to what was within the scope of investigation". He said, "In this case, the specific scope was to determine whether there were any foreign donations or not and therefore donors' PAN, address, pin code, etc. were not shared, which we believed were outside the scope of investigation."

Also, Mr. Mathur said, "I want to state that the concerned business was only enabled to receive domestic payments in line with our policy to not allow international transactions without FCRA approval for donation pages," consistent with what Alt News has been saying.

On the allegation that Razorpay had not informed Alt News about having shared data with the police, Mr. Mathur said they tried to reach out to the registered mobile numbers of the business and share this information with them "but could not reach them". "In hindsight, we understand it may have been difficult for them to get on the phone in such a situation and we could have tried to find other channels."

Also read | Alt News parent company received ₹2 lakh from foreign countries: police

Earlier this week, Alt News had issued a statement saying Razorpay had shared its donor data with the police without letting them know or without even a preliminary investigation of any possible violations on the part of Alt News.

The Delhi Police are now investigating alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act violations by Alt News as part of the FIR, initially registered against co-founder Mohammed Zubair for a 2018 tweet of his.

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