NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] has gone out of its way to act on a complaint lodged by the digital wallet company Paytm that it was cheated out of Rs 6.15 lakh by 15 customers. The agency filed an FIR case against the customers on Thursday.
It is rare for CBI to take up such cases unless they have been referred by the central government or there are directions by the Supreme Court or a high court.
Responding to media queries why the agency -- which is facing a staff crunch -- decided to take up the case, a CBI spokesperson said, "[the agency is mandated] to register cases under the Information Technology Act in Delhi even against private individuals."
The agency mentioned the 15 Paytm customers and unknown officials of the company as suspects in the FIR.
Calls made to most of the customers to seek their reaction were disconnected after they were told that they have been named in the CBI FIR. Some numbers remained unanswered or unreachable.
The 15 customers are residents of Kalkaji, Govindpuri and Saket. The unknown officials belong to One97 Communications, the parent company of Paytm.
The complaint by the company’s manager [legal], M Sivakumar, claimed that the company makes payment for defective products received by a customer and arranges a reverse pickup of the damaged product which is then sent to the merchant.
The process is done by a team of customer care executives who have been assigned specific IDs and passwords to handle such complaints from customers and arrange refunds and pickups.
It was alleged that the company found that during the period 2014-16 it found that in 48 cases customers had received refunds even though their orders were successfully delivered to them.
"As a matter of fact wherein delivery of orders were successful and satisfactory to the customer, refund should not happen. However, in all these 48 cases, refund of the order amount happened to the respective customers to the tune of Rs 6.15 lakh," the complaint, which is now part of the FIR, alleged.
It alleged that customers "illegally" appropriated money refunded in their bank accounts and wallets.
It claimed that this is a "serious" fraudulent act and foul play with the common intention to wrongfully gain along with such involved customers. PTI
The digital wallet company, which has received a big boost in transactions after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, claimed that the customers first had knowledge of the internal working of the company.
"The accused persons first acquired knowledge of how the system of the company works and conspired to book orders, take delivery of products at common addresses known and or belonging to them and their accomplices and then made or managed false and fabricated entries in the computer system of the company and approved/made fraudulent refunds against the same orders," the company alleged.
The company has information that in those cases where refunds were made, money was further transferred from the wallet to the bank accounts of either accused persons or people known to each other, it alleged.
The company claimed that the refunds were made within five to six minutes of disputes being raised by the customer.