Amid a massive controversy erupted over Paytm QR codes installed outside the gates of Kedarnath and Badrinath seeking donations from pilgrims, the company issued a clarification on Tuesday, saying it was part of a contract with Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC).
According to BKTC media in-charge Harish Gaud, there was a formal agreement between the BKTC and Paytm in 2018 for putting up such boards outside the gates of the temples to get donations from pilgrims.
"Ever since then, small boards with Quick Response (QR) codes have been put up outside these temples by Paytm. Rs 67 lakh have been received by the BKTC through these QR codes by way of donations," he said.
Paytm did not take prior-permission
However, Paytm did not take permission from the competent BKTC authorities before putting up such boards which led to the confusion, he claimed. Paytm has apologised for its mistake to BKTC Chairman Ajendra Ajay, he said.
Boards displaying QR codes seeking donations from pilgrims were put up outside the gates of Badrinath and Kedarnath without the knowledge of the authorities, officials said on Tuesday.
Cases under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code were registered against unidentified accused on Monday at Badrinath police station and Kedarnath police outpost for putting up the QR code boards outside the temples and a probe was ordered into it, Superintendent of Police (Chamoli) Pramendra Dobhal said.
Case registered against Paytm
Ajendra Ajay, chairman of the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee, said the cases were registered on the basis of its complaint.
The boards were removed on April 25 and 27, the day Kedarnath and Badrinath, respectively, opened to the devotees, he said. The QR codes were put up without the committee's permission and were removed immediately after it was brought to its notice on the day the temples opened.
The temple committee does not use the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) mode for financial transactions, Ajay said.