Extortion Of The Billionaire: 4 Unanswered Questions About Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Sonia Dhawan

Police has arrested Sonia Dhawan, but questions remain at large.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma blackmailed
Vijay Shekhar Sharma blackmailed

Disclaimer: This post is based on facts and figures shared by mainstream media on this case. We haven’t received any information or confirmation/denial from Paytm.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm is India’s youngest billionaire and richest under-40 Indian entrepreneur.

In a curious case, Vijay Shekhar Sharma was blackmailed by his ex-secretary Sonia Dhawan, who demanded Rs 20 crore from him. She threatened to leak some ‘sensitive information’ if the money was not paid.

After Vijay Shekhar Sharma complained to the police, they have arrested Sonia Dhawan, her husband Rupak Jain, and another Paytm employee named Devender Kumar who helped Sonia to steal data.

Another accused, who is allegedly in Kolkata is at run, and police is searching for him. As per the FIR, this 4th accomplice, whose name is Rohit Chopal (can be fake as well) had called Ajay Sharma, who is VS Sharma’s brother and VP at Paytm to extort money.

There are several aspects of this case, which remains unanswered. Based on the available reports, and information shared on Twitter, we attempt to raise these 5 questions about this crime:


Question #1: Why Sonia Dhawan Betrayed VS Sharma For Rs 20 Crore?

Sonia Dhawan joined Paytm in 2010, as Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s personal secretary. In the last 10 years, she climbed the corporate ladder, and at the time of her arrest, she was Vice President – Corporate Communications / Public Relations at Paytm.

A journalist on Twitter claimed that she received a salary of Rs 1.5 crore per year, and held ESOPs worth Rs 15-20 crore (unverified numbers).

In a way, Sonia was with Paytm since its initial days, and remained with them to witness its success and super success in the last decade. In such a scenario, asking a ransom of mere Rs 20 crore from a billionaire seems suspicious.

Besides, why will she trust an admin from the company (Devender Kumar) to carry out the heist? And more importantly, if she was involved, why was she present in the office when police came to arrest her?

Question #2: Did VS Sharma Really Trusted Sonia So Much?

As per media reports, Sonia had access to Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s all passwords – his mobile, laptop, gadgets and more.

Now, the question: Can a founder of a $10 billion financial company reveal such sensitive information to the Communications Head of a company? She was not his secretary anymore, and even with the secretary, sharing of passwords of mobiles, laptops seems highly impossible.

Question #3: What Exactly Was The Data Which Was Stolen?

Now, the biggest question: What was that data, which convinced Sonia and her accomplices to extort Rs 20 crore from Vijay Shekhar Sharma?

Some reports claim that it was sensitive personal data, and some reports claim that it was company’s data.

As of now, police hasn’t revealed what exactly was the data, but being a Payments Bank, and a wallet, their shareholders and customers need to know the truth.

Question #4: Why Some Money Was Paid To The Blackmailers?

And finally, why did Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Ajay Sharma pay Rs 2 lakh to Sonia Dhawan, as part of the blackmail deal?

Why was police not informed earlier, the day first extortion call was made? The very fact that Rs 2 lakh was paid to the blackmailers raises the suspicion of something being fishy.

At the time of writing, these questions remain unanswered.

Paytm, in a statement has said that until the guilty are proven, they remain with their colleagues. The statement said, “The employee along with two other accomplices attempted to extort money from Vijay Shekhar Sharma on the pretext of leaking his personal data. We are standing by our colleagues till the police enquiry reaches its meaningful conclusion,”

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

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