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NEW DELHI: In a revelation that must have shaken the trust of millions of Paytm users, the on Friday released a video wherein bosses of the e-wallet major claim to have shared user data with the Prime Minister’s Office and boast of their close contacts with RSS and BJP leaders. They go on to admit that they have done several works for RSS.

The undercover journalist of had approached Sudhanshu Gupta, Vice President and Ajay Shekhar Sharma, Sr. Vice President of Paytm to check if Paytm, like media houses, is ready to run the journalist’s fictitious Hindutva campaign on its mobile app. They appeared ready for the project with a rider – that they will first call RSS bosses about it as they are already in close contact with them and have done so many things for the outfit.

“Knowing full well that in this technology-driven age, when there are hundreds of apps available for every single activity a man can imagine, Sharma (journalist Pushp Sharma) decided to check it out if Paytm too could promote his agenda on their apps. Surprisingly, he was not disappointed when he met Vice President Sudhanshu Gupta and Sr. Vice President Ajay Shekhar Sharma. These interviews proved to be quite revealing and shocking, as the top honchos not only boast of their close association with the RSS but are also candid enough to confess to have shared the data of millions of their app users with the central government,” said in a release accompanied with sting videos on Friday.

“In a rush to prove how close they are both to the government and to the RSS, Ajay Shekhar makes the ultimate disclosure: “Jab JK mein band huye the na pathar … toh humari personally PMO se phone aya tha kaha gaya tha ki data de do ho sakta hai ki Paytm user hon (When the stone-pelting stopped there in J&K, I personally got a phone call from the PMO. They told us to give them data saying maybe some of the stone-pelters are Paytm users. Do you understand)?”

Cobrapost says what Paytm bosses claim to have done is in utter violation of their stated privacy policy: “We will not sell, share or rent your personal information to any 3rd party or use your email address/mobile number for unsolicited emails and/or SMS. Any emails and/or SMS sent by Paytm will only be in connection with the provision of agreed services & products and this Privacy Policy.”

While sharing the data with the government, Paytm also violated its security policy which states: “Paytm has stringent security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. Whenever you change or access your account information, we offer the use of a secure server. Once your information is in our possession we adhere to strict security guidelines, protecting it against unauthorized access.”

Such revelations of their close association with the top RSS brass and the BJP governments at the center and in other states “make one wonder if Paytm’s meteoric rise has something to do with the Saffron brigade’s ascension to power at the centre and its decision to go for demonetization,” asks the portal and gives details about the rise of Paytm.

“Barely within a year of the BJP forming government at the Centre, the company entered into an agreement with the Indian Railways in April 2015 making Paytm wallet acceptable for ticketing-related transactions, and in December the same year, IRTC announced its catering services could be availed of using Paytm app. This was the year when Paytm and its holding company saw an uplift in its fortunes with investors like Jack Ma of the Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba investing in Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s venture. When Ma visited India in March that year, he also met Prime Minister Modi. Four months down the line, the BJP government began its push for digital India. The push came to a shove when the government went whole lock, stock and barrel for demonetization in November a year later. However, two months before the much-touted “surgical strike” began, Paytm had become ubiquitous in its presence across, occupying full pages in newspapers and prime time television free commercial time, in what was no less a blitzkrieg. The company had the gumptions to even depict Modi as its brand ambassador in one of its ads to the utter shock of the nation, which was later on conveniently withdrawn. No wonder if Vijay Shekhar in one of its ads applauded Modi for his bold decision. But, as the company made its fortune out of demonetization which pushed the citizenry to untold miseries, its ads became rare and rarer with the passage of time.”

On Friday itself, Cobrapost published several investigative stories about how big media houses like Times of India Today, Zee News and ABP News are ready to run Hindutva campaign in lieu of moneybags.

Big media houses as well as small ones, oldest media houses as well as new ones, be it print or TV – all are more than ready to run vicious Hindutva campaign for electoral polarization in lieu of money. Those who do not get tired to claim first and last pillar of ethics have no problem in even accepting black money for the work.

In the second part of Operation 136, on Friday released several investigative stories that have exposed owners and high-ranking personnel of more than two dozen media houses, both mainstream and regional, the biggest ones and the smaller ones, the oldest ones and the newer ones.

“‘Operation 136: Part II,’ in fact, shows Indian media’s underbelly in its most visceral form, where even the “big daddies” do not mind agreeing to undertake a campaign that has the potential to not only cause communal disharmony among citizens but also tilt the electoral outcome in favour of a particular party. This they will do if they are paid the right price, and sometimes they have no compunctions to quote a price as high as Rs. 1000 crore, as did the Times Group owner Vineet Jain, while others showed a propensity to indulge in any kind of illegality bordering on criminality,” said in a statement accompanied with sting videos.

The media houses agreeing to run the campaign are Times of IndiaIndia Today, Hindustan Times, Zee News, Network 18, Star India, ABP News, Dainik Jagaran, Radio One, Red FM, Lokmat, ABN Andhra Jyothy, TV5, Dinamalar, Big FM, K News, India Voice, The New Indian Express, MVTV and Open magazine.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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