UIDAI suspended Airtel Payments Bank's eKYC licence after it used it to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their 'informed consent'
New Delhi: Airtel Payments Bank chief executive Shashi Arora has quit the company after a recent controversy surrounding India’s largest telecom operator and its payment bank’s alleged violation of rules on using Aadhaar for its electronic know-your-customer (e-KYC) verification process.
“Shashi Arora has been associated with Airtel in senior leadership roles since 2006. He has been an asset for Airtel and over the years has contributed to the company’s growth story. Having led the operations in key telecom circles followed by building a strong DTH business, he has laid the foundation for Airtel’s payments bank operations. Shashi has decided to move on to pursue opportunities outside of Airtel. We wish Shashi the very best for his future endeavours," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
Shashi Arora could not be immediately reached for comment.
This comes immediately after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday decided to conditionally allow Bharti Airtel Ltd to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till 10 January.
The decision to provide a temporary reprieve to Airtel was taken after Rs138 crore of funds under the direct benefit transfer scheme were credited back to the original accounts of 55.63 lakh beneficiaries.
“There was some moral pressure on him after the recent controversy," a person aware of the development said requesting anonymity.
However, the suspension of the e-KYC licence of Airtel Payments Bank has not been revoked.
UIDAI has also asked Reserve Bank of India (RBI), department of telecom (DoT) and audit and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers India to conduct an audit of Bharti Airtel with respect to its systems, processes, applications, documentations and any other aspect as may be identified by RBI and DoT to ensure that the company is in compliance with its licence conditions.
In September, UIDAI had sent a notice to Airtel after receiving complaints that it was opening payments bank accounts without the explicit consent of users. It was also alleged that government subsidies were being credited in these accounts without the knowledge of users.
UIDAI last week had temporarily suspended Airtel and its payments bank from conducting Aadhaar-based verification of its mobile customers as well as those of the bank using the e-KYC process.The telco deposited Rs2.5 crore as penalty with UIDAI.