'Complied With Notice Sent by Authorities': Razorpay Amid Alt News FCRA Charges

Alt News, in a statement, said that the payment gateway did not specify the reason why its account was re-enabled.

3 min read
'Complied With Notice Sent by Authorities': Razorpay Amid Alt News FCRA Charges

Following a statement by fact-checking website Alt News on Tuesday, 5 July, which claimed that Razorpay did not specify the reason for re-enabling its account, the payment gateway, in response, claimed to have received a notice under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) from legal authorities.

"We had received a written order from the legal authorities under Section 91 CrPC and we are mandated to comply with the same as per the regulation under the provisions of Indian law," the statement read.

"We will continue to hold the highest standard of data security, defend our customers at all times and also continue to abide by the laws and regulations of India," the statement added.

Alt News, in a statement, said that the payment gateway did not specify the reason why the fact-checking publication's account was re-enabled a day after Razorpay temporarily deactivated it.

Alt News further alleged that Razorpay handed over its donor data to the police.

The statement read:

"We had put out a statement yesterday stating that Razorpay, our donation platform, had disabled our account. Shortly after that, Razorpay re-enabled our account and issued a statement that they had temporary deactivated our account upon receiving a request from police authorities, and have re-activated it after getting some clarity. It has not been specified by them as to what this 'clarity' is."
Statement by Alt News

The statement from Alt News, reiterating that only "Indian bank accounts can make donations to Alt News," said that allegations of the website receiving funds from foreign sources were false and that "foreign credit cards were never enabled in the Razorpay backend."


It also claimed that if the payment gateway were to find inconsistencies by the company which violated its term of service, "they wouldn't have re-enabled our account."

Alt News also alleged that the payment gateway handed over data of donors to the police and claimed that the company was not provided any prior notice. It also claimed that the move was undertaken without "a preliminary investigation of any violation on the part of Alt News."

Appealing to its readers for support, the statement also noted the necessity to collect information such as email address, phone number, PAN card number, and residential address according to government regulations.

Allegations of Foreign Funding Against Parent Pravda Media

What began as a case against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair for allegedly "hurting religious sentiments" has now become an investigation into the workings of the fact-checking website Alt News.

The Delhi Police alleged that Pravda Media, the parent company of Alt News, received Rs 2,31,933 through foreign funding, an allegation that the publication has denied.

On Monday, 4 July, the fact-checking website put out a statement and said, "The allegation that individuals associated with the organisation have received funds in their personal accounts is also false since the individuals associated with the organisation only get monthly remuneration."

The police are investigating the fact-checking website for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) during its probe of Zubair.

The Case Against Zubair

Five days after Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly "hurting religious sentiments" and "promoting enmity" via a tweet he had posted in 2018, charges pertaining to "criminal conspiracy" and "disappearance of evidence" were also added against him.

Apart from this, the Delhi Police added Section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, in the FIR against Zubair, said DCP (IFSO) KPS Malhotra.

Meanwhile, Malhotra also claimed that an "analysis of the reply received from Razorpay payment gateway revealed that there are various transactions, in which either the mobile phone number is of outside India or the IP address is of foreign countries and cities including Bangkok, Australia, North Holland, Singapore, Victoria, New York, England, Riyadh region, Sharjah, Stockholm, Abu Dhabi, and Washington, among others."

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Topics:  FCRA   Alt News   Mohammed Zubair 

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