Fact-checking website Alt News on Tuesday alleged that payment gateway Razorpay had shared its donor data with the police without informing it.
In a statement, Razorpay, without referring to the specific allegation of Alt News, said that it was mandated to comply with the written order from legal authorities under the provisions of the law.
Razorpay had deactivated the account of Alt News on its donation platform following a request from the police and re-enabled it later.
Alt News said the donation platform had conveyed to them that their account was reactivated “after getting some clarity”.
“It has not been specified by them as to what this clarity is,” the fact-checking website said.
It alleged that Razorpay had handed over Alt News donor data to the police.
“This was done without informing us, or without even a preliminary investigation of any violation on the part of Alt News,” it said.
“We tried reaching out to the company [AltNews] but did not receive any response and hence could not inform them before sharing the data or deactivating the account for a brief period on July 4,” the spokesperson added.
Under Section 91 of the CrPC, any court or any officer in charge of a police station can seek data that is deemed important for any ongoing investigation.
On July 4, fact-checking platform AltNews tweeted a statement saying Razorpay has disabled its account, informing users as donations that people were attempting to make weren’t going through. Sometime later, the account was enabled and many took to Twitter to share that donations are going through.
“Razorpay is a law-abiding, fully compliant organization 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…”
What is the Razorpay-AltNews case?
Last week (June 27), fact-checking media organization AltNews co-founder Muhammad Zubair was arrested by the cops in Delhi in a case related to an “objectionable tweet” he had posted in 2018 against a Hindu deity. Zunair was then sent to judicial custody for 14 days. The prosecutor opposed his bail appeal, contending that a probe was underway into foreign donations he allegedly received, including Pakistan.
Additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava claimed that Zubair accepted payments through Razorpay from Pakistan, UAE, Syria, Singapore, and Australia. Delhi Police has also alleged that AltNews parent company Pravda Media also received more than ₹2 lakh in foreign funding.