paytm: Paytm case: Vodafone ‘supports’ Reliance Jio’s stand

Telecom operator Vodafone Idea has countered Paytm’s lawsuit over phishing frauds, arguing that telcos cannot, legally, access or control the content of communications sent over their networks and judge whether it is fraud.

Resonating Reliance Jio’s stand on the issue, Vodafone Idea has alleged that the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-owned payments company has camouflaged its own non-compliance of securing their user data.

The telco pointed out that as per an FIR produced by Paytm, the fraudster had access to victim’s name, email ID, past transactions history, transaction IDs, amount of money transferred with date and recipient’s name. “Clearly, the Petitioners’ customers are being defrauded due to security lapses on the part of the Petitioners,” it said in a counter affidavit.

Paytm’s parent One97 Communications has moved the Delhi High Court against telecom operators, Trai and the communications ministry, blaming the telcos for not blocking those who are defrauding its customers by phishing activities via unsolicited calls and SMS and sought damages of Rs 100 crore for the failure of carriers.

The next hearing of the case is listed for June 24.

Vodafone Idea called the claim ‘unfounded and false’ since the loss suffered by such customers is Rs 10 crore. “There is not an iota of pleading or evidence to corroborate how this has translated into a loss of INR 100 crores by the Petitioners.”

The telco argued that Trai’s regulation requires enquiry and imposition of graded penalty before blocking any sender to ensure a fair balance between right to privacy and business interests.

Vodafone Idea said that Paytm is deliberately dragging telcos while the petition itself shows that they have alternate remedies available such as law enforcement agencies to deal with cases of financial frauds. “The allegation of using same or similar header that of Paytm, is akin to the infringement actions under IPR laws.”

Furthermore, a private complainant is not entitled to receive customer information such as call records and subscriber details from telcos as sought by Paytm.

The case has become ‘infructuous’ as their primary grievance regarding use of Headers deceptively similar to theirs has been addressed after Paytm onboarded the DLT registry on April 1,2020.

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