Mumbai | Bengaluru:Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said, “All options are open,” when asked if he would take legal recourse against Google. This was after the technology major temporarily removed the mobile payment platform’s app from its Play Store for running a scratch card-based cricket promotion which breached its gambling policies. He said the company would also seek government and regulatory intervention.
Sharma, who tore into Google’s practice of barring apps which were compliant with Indian laws, said his ‘fight’ will be a long-drawn one. He told ET in an hour-long interview that he had full faith in the Indian government and its antitrust body, the Competition Commission of India (CCI). “We would like to amplify the voice of the Indian startup community and our technology companies,” Sharma said.
He added that the company will demand an explanation for being arbitrarily yanked off the Play Store. “This is a concern for every regulator in this country and for the government because our app is not a gambling app. I feel agitated to the level that it won’t stop today or tomorrow, this fight will go long.” he said. Paytm was being “singled out” and “targeted” while similar features were running elsewhere and on Google’s own payments app, he added.
In an emailed statement, a Google spokesperson said, “Offering cashbacks and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of our Google Play gambling policies. Our policies don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting, including daily fantasy sports in India.” Sharma criticised industry bodies such as Nasscom and IAMAI for being dominated by US tech majors, and called for formation of a new grouping that would fairly represent the voice of local tech firms. “Founders are coming together and there is a discussion on this topic. We will be talking to the government, lawmakers, regulators,” he said.