`What steps has ED taken over allegations of money laundering against Paytm?`

Hitting out at the government after the RBI`s action against Paytm Payments Bank, the Congress on Monday asked what steps have been taken by the Enforcement Directorate given serious allegations of money laundering have been levelled against the company.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked whether the ED was “satisfied” with cases against political leaders, alleging that 95 per cent of its cases were against politicians.

She also asked if the data of users of Paytm payments bank was safe and was not being shared with the BJP.

“Why was Paytm payment bank given such a long relaxation despite so many violations? What steps has ED taken so far on serious allegations like money laundering? How much did Paytm donate to the BJP and the PM Cares Fund,” the Congress leader asked.

“Is the ED satisfied by initiating 95 per cent of cases against political people? Is the data of Paytm consumers confidential or is it being shared with the BJP,” she asked.

On Sunday, Paytm said that the ED is neither investigating One97 Communications, owner of Paytm brand, nor its Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma for money laundering.

Last week, the RBI ordered Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, a restricted bank that can take deposits but cannot lend, to not take any further deposits or conduct credit transactions or carry out top-ups on any customers accounts, prepaid instruments, wallets, cards for paying road tolls after February 29.

Shrinate also said that in November, 2016 Paytm had supported demonetisation with full-page advertisements praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Centre announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8, 2016.

“Paytm always celebrated the demonetisation which devastated the economy and also launched its IPO on November 8, 2021. Paytm and its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma are facing serious allegations like money laundering. These allegations have been made by the RBI itself, due to which their Paytm Payment Bank has been banned,” she asked.

Shrinate alleged that the RBI inspected 35 crore Paytm wallets, out of which 31 crore wallets were found inactive and that a single PAN card was found linked to thousands of accounts. She added that KYC of lakhs of accounts was not done and false compliance reports were being given by the bank.

“Paytm has already been accused of sharing its data with the BJP. The RBI has several times expressed concern over the transaction data traffic between Paytm Payments Bank and Paytm, but Vijay Shekhar Sharma did not take any action. Paytm flouted a lot of rules and regulations without any fear,” she said.

The RBI had also expressed concerns about the shareholding of the payments bank, she said.
Shrinate said a major reason for the RBI action was that most of Paytm`s investment was by Chinese companies, which included Alibaba. Even now Ant Group had about a 10 per cent partnership, she said. 

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