What the payments company said about donations for fact-checker M Zubair’s Alt News

Earlier, Alt News alleged that Razorpay shared its data with the police without informing the organization.

New Delhi:

Razorpay, the payment gateway used by Alt News to receive donations, said Friday that only domestic payments were enabled for the fact-checking website and foreign transactions were not allowed without FCRA approval. .

Delhi Police had told a Delhi court last week that they were investigating alleged violations of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by Alt News as part of its investigation against co-founder Mohammed Zubair.

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Razorpay co-founder and CEO Harshil Mathur said the payment gateway only shared “specific data” with investigating authorities as part of the investigation. investigation.

“Although I am not authorized to share details due to the ongoing investigation, I would like to state that the company concerned was only authorized to receive domestic payments in accordance with our policy of not allowing international transactions without FCRA approval for donation pages,” he said, without directly naming Alt News.

Amid concerns about the data Razorpay may have shared, he said the specific scope of the request from investigative agencies was only to determine whether there were foreign donations.

“And as a result, the donors’ PAN, address, PIN, etc. were not shared, which we believe was outside the scope of the investigation,” he said.

Alt News’ payments probe follows Mr Zubair’s arrest following a complaint from a Twitter account that said he insulted Hindus in 2018 when he posted an image from an old movie Hindi.

On Alt News saying they were not contacted before the information was shared, Mathur said Razorpay had contacted the company’s registered cellphone numbers but could not reach them.

“Looking back, we understand that it may have been difficult for them to join on the phone in such a situation and we could have tried to find other channels,” he said.

Giving details, he said the company had received a written notice for transaction data for a specific time period on Monday.

“We immediately contacted the authorities to understand the scope and reasons for the request. A senior Razorpay executive traveled from Bangalore to Delhi to speak to the authorities,” he said. “As it is our process, we have consulted with several legal experts on this matter and have received unanimous advice that we must comply with the request.”

Razorpay has temporarily deactivated Alt News’ business account pending clarification of the investigation’s goal of protecting and preventing consumer losses, he said.

“As soon as we got that clarity, we immediately reactivated payments for them.” He also said policy experts and legal advisers across the country had expressed an undivided view that it was necessary for Razorpay to comply with the legal demand.

“We have always championed the need for proper data privacy law in the country,” he said. “We are not perfect, to anyone who thinks there is something else we could have done, my DMs are always open, please let us know your feedback,” Mehta said in his statement.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Virginia C. Taylor