CBI files FIR against Paytm customers for cheating

In a rare case, popular digital wallet, Paytm has filed a complaint against its customers from Delhi for allegedly cheating the company to the tune of Rupees 615, 000 ($ 9, 064.78). India’s national investigation agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a first information report (FIR) regarding the case after Paytm’s legal Manager, M Sivakumar, claimed that the company made payments for defective products received by customers and arranged for pickup of the damaged product which was sent to the merchant.

It is rare for CBI to take up such cases unless they have been referred by the central government or directed to do so by the Supreme Court or a high court because it is mostly overburdened with work and short-staffed. However, the CBI can register cases under IT Act in the territory of Delhi even on complaints from and against private individuals. This has been happening since 2000.

The digital wallet company has claimed that nearly 48 of its customers have duped it but the CBI has registered cases only against 15 customers who are residents of Kalkaji, Govindpuri and Saket areas besides unknown officials of One97 Communications – parent company of Paytm. The cases have been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology (IT) Act.

It was found that these 48 customers had allegedly received “refunds” for products that had successfully been delivered to them. The process is done by a team of customer care executives who have been assigned specific IDs and passwords to handle such complaints from the customers and arrange refund and pick up.

The CBI confirmed that the complaints were received that customers had “illegally” appropriated money refunded to their bank accounts and wallets between 2015-16. The company alleged that most of these customers had taken deliveries of products at common or similar addresses.

As a matter of fact, wherein delivery of orders was successful and satisfactory to the customer, the refund should not happen.

“Paytm has identified about 48 fraudulent users in the physical goods marketplace business who were trying to game the company’s consumer-friendly practices. Paytm regularly monitors its marketplace business to identify any fraudulent or suspicious behaviour. This is a part of the company’s security practices to ensure that genuine users are able to continuously avail the benefits brought to it by Paytm marketplace. We have robust risk management practices and regularly report users who try to game the company’s fair usage policies,” said Paytm officials.

A CBI official said that the agency has investigated complaints from Paytm and private banks such as ICICI Bank in the past, too.

The $5 billion digital wallet company which got a big boost in transactions after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 08 claimed that the accused first got details of the internal working of the company and then executed their plans.

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