Sonia Dhawan, who spent almost six months in jail over an alleged extortion bid against her previous boss Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, has joined another digital commerce firm, Sheroes.
Interestingly, the co-founder of Sheroes, Sairee Chahal, is on the board of Paytm Payments Bank, and Sharma is one of the lead investors in her firm.
Sheroes is a women’s community platform, offering support, resources, opportunities, and interactions via Sheroes.com and its app. Other investors include ex-Googler Rajan Anandan and Flipkart Co-Founder Binny Bansal. Dhawan has joined Sheroes as director communications.
During her stint at Paytm, she was Sharma’s private secretary and the firm’s vice-president of corporate communication. “It is good to be back to the normal work routine. There has been a lot of misunderstanding and confusion which is getting sorted. I am innocent and I expect the court case to conclude in the coming time. I will build public relations vertical at Sheroes,” Dhawan said.
In October last year, Ajay Shekhar Sharma, senior vice-president at Paytm and brother of Vijay Shekhar, had lodged an FIR with the Noida police about his brother getting extortion calls threatening to leak the founder’s personal data. The investigations allegedly led to Dhawan, her husband Roopak Jain, another Paytm admin staff Devendra Kumar and his friend Rohit Chomal.
Sharma has since maintained that he was shocked and wants answers. “I have always believed her (Dhawan) to be trustworthy. It is possible that she has been used as a conduit. Cops will unearth the truth,” he had told Business Standard earlier. Investigations are on in the case.
Dhawan had been an employee of Paytm for more than eight years, coinciding with the period of peak growth for the company that was founded by Sharma in 2001.
According to sources close to Paytm, the stolen data included mails and conversation between Sharma and his business partners, aides, as well as with various government officials. Sources close to Sharma said the company had grown big enough now for him to have more enemies than friends, hinting at a case of business rivalry and perhaps espionage.