The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has lifted the ban on Airtel Payments Bank that was imposed last month after an investigation was launched over the company’s Aadhaar-KYC fiasco. The RBI had asked Airtel Payments Bank to stop registering new customers which, the company on Thursday said, has been lifted and it can resume the on-boarding of customers.
In March, Airtel Payments Bank was reported to have been signing new customers without their “any specific or clear consent”. More than 23 lakh customers reportedly received about Rs 47 crore in their Airtel bank accounts, which they did not know had been opened. Following the incident, Airtel Payments Bank was slapped with a fine of Rs 5 crore by the central bank.
“Airtel Payments Bank has received requisite approvals from The Reserve Bank of India to start on-boarding new customers. Airtel Payments Bank has also been permitted by the UIDAI to resume the on-boarding of customers using Aaadhaar based e-KYC,” the company said in a statement.
In March, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was informed more than 31 lakh customers received Rs 190 crore of LPG subsidy in their Airtel bank accounts, which they did not know had been opened. It was alleged that at the time of mobile verification using Aadhaar e-KYC, the Airtel retailers were also opening Airtel Payments Bank accounts, without the informed consent of the user.
Although Airtel denied any wrong-doing, the UIDAI temporarily barred the company from conducting Aadhaar linked e-KYC verification of SIMs and bank clients. The Rs 5 crore fine was imposed after the RBI scrutinised the bank’s documents relating the to an opening of accounts without any specific or clear consent from the customers.
Both Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank were appointed as Authentication User Agencies (AUA) by UIDAI and had entered into an agreement with UIDAI in February 2015 and September 2016 respectively for the purposes of availing authentication services provided by the authority.