In an interesting turn of events, Bharti Airtel’s head of payments bank business, Shashi Arora, has decided to quit to move on to pursue opportunities outside Airtel amid the ongoing controversy where India’s leading telco opened Airtel Payments Bank accounts without requisite approvals and consent of customers and was subsequently hauled up by the authorities.
In a statement to media, Bharti Airtel said, “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.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had temporarily barred Airtel from conducting Aadhaar-based e-KYC for its mobile and payments bank clients for flouting approval norms.
Airtel was forced to pay an interim penalty of Rs 2.5 crore to the authorities and was allowed from Thursday to resume its Adhaar-based e-KYC verification process. However, the UIDAI has maintained its ‘suspension’ order on the telco’s payments bank, Airtel Payments Bank, and it will take a view on the issue after it receives a report from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the telecom department on January 10.
According to reports, Bharti Airtel has offered to pay Rs 190 crore plus interest to be transferred to the original bank accounts of beneficiaries.
The government is in the process of overhauling the verification process followed by banks for mapping Aadhaar-linked bank accounts for subsidy payments. The RBI and the telecom department have been asked by the UIDAI to conduct an audit of systems, processes, applications, documentation followed by Bharti Airtel to ensure that the company is in compliance with their license conditions.