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. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was informed 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. Government’s LPG subsidy was also getting transferred to these accounts, without their consent. Even though Airtel denied any wrong-doing, the company has deposited Rs 2.5 crore as an interim penalty to UIDAI, PTI reported.
On Monday, UIDAI had temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar linked e-KYC verification of SIMs and bank clients. The company however responded by saying no bank account was opened without the consent of the customers and additional safeguards have been introduced. In fact, Airtel even offered to return Rs 190 crore subsidy that had flown ‘unsolicitedly’ into the Payments Bank accounts of its 31 lakh mobile phone subscribers, PTI reported quoting sources.
“We can confirm that we have received an interim order from the UIDAI regarding temporary suspension of Aadhaar linked e-KYC services till their satisfaction on certain processes relating to Airtel Payment Bank’s onboarding of customers,” the company said in a statement.
“We are engaging with the authority and are hopeful of an early resolution. We are also undertaking to complete the said actions on priority and have commenced thorough checks of our process flows. Being compliant to all guidelines is paramount to us. In the interim, any inconvenience to our customers is regretted,” the company added.
Mounting pressure on Airtel, the state-run oil companies had begun writing to billionaire Sunil Mittal-led firm asking it to transfer back the LPG subsidy that got credited to its payment bank accounts. Mounting pressure on Airtel, the state-run oil companies had begun writing to billionaire Sunil Mittal-led firm asking it to transfer back the LPG subsidy that got credited to its payment bank accounts.