The Surajpur District and Sessions Court has rejected the bail application of Roopak Jain, co-accused in the Paytm extortion case, and husband of Paytm employee and key accused, Sonia Dhawan.
As Inc42 reported earlier, on the morning of October 22, police arrested Dhawan, alleged to be the mastermind behind an extortion plan, and two of the other three accused in the case. They had allegedly planned to extort INR 20 Cr ($2.71 Mn) from Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, using stolen personal data from Vijay’s computer and mobile phone, and were threatening to leak it.
An FIR was then filed by Paytm founder’s brother Ajay Shekhar Sharma, who reportedly received an extortion call from Rohit Chomal, also an accused in the case. Inc42 has the copy of the FIR filed.
In an order on Wednesday, Special Judge Nalin Shrivastav noted that the charges levelled against Jain were ‘severe’ and ‘serious’ in nature.
“The facts and circumstances are not enough to grant bail. Hence, the bail is being denied,” said the court order. “Study of the case reveals that Jain, and the other accused, his wife Sonia Dhawan, Devender Kumar and Rohit Chomal, had indulged in a criminal conspiracy to try and extract INR 10 Cr from Vijay Shekhar Sharma,” the order further stated.
Roopak Jain was not presented in the court by the police on Wednesday.
The legal representative of Jain and Dhawan, along with their respective families, will now appeal against the order in the Allahabad High Court.
At the same time, they also plan to file a bail application for Sonia Dhawan in the District and Sessions Court over the next few days.
Jain’s legal representative Advocate Satish Kumar argued that the one-time property dealer was being ‘framed’ in this case and that he was not even an employee in Paytm. “In fact, Roopak had himself received an extortion call for (INR 5 Cr) on September 22. The caller had threatened to harm their son,” he added.
Kumar also argued that the monies that Sharma claims have paid the blackmailers “had not been credited to any of Jain’s bank accounts.”
The account details shared by the caller was for ICICI account No. 000605021598, which is registered at an ICICI Bank branch on 22, R N Mukherjee Road, Kolkata, 700001. Ajay Shekhar claimed that he had transferred INR 67K and INR 200K to this account on October 10 and 15 respectively.
Notably, Jain had also said that he himself was a victim of blackmail, having received a call demanding INR 5 Cr on September 22. He had also claimed that he “did not know of anyone named Rohit Chomal.” Jain’s family maintained that the husband-wife duo was innocent.
Meanwhile, Dhawan’s sister Rupali Dhawan, has come out in her support, arguing that Sonia’s salary package was INR 80 lakh per annum and that she has shares worth INR 10-15 Cr in the company. “How can she demand INR 10 Cr, that too in her bank account?” she asked.
[The development was reported by ET.]