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Airtel pays Rs 2.5 cr fine for opening payments bank without user consent

Meanwhile, an e-mail query sent to Airtel with regard to deposit of Rs 2.5-crore interim penalty remained unanswered

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

UIDAI suspends Airtel, Airtel Payments Bank's e-KYC licence

has deposited an interim penalty of Rs 2.5 crore with the Aadhaar-issuing body after an action against the telecom operator for allegedly opening payments bank accounts of its mobile subscribers without their 'informed consent', according to sources. The company is learnt to have given the assurance that it will return Rs 190 crore that had flown into the 'unsolicited' payments bank accounts of 31 lakh mobile subscribers over the next 24 hours and will also inform the customers that their subsidy-linked account is being switched back to the originally-chosen account. has deposited an interim penalty of Rs 2.5 crore "unconditionally" to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a person familiar with the development told PTI. "They (Airtel) have also stated that all 31 lakh customers will be intimated by that their subsidy money is being transferred to the originally-chosen accounts and that henceforth such money will flow into those designated accounts," the source added. Meanwhile, an e-mail query sent to with regard to deposit of Rs 2.5-crore interim penalty remained unanswered. Once the entire process is complete, will be required to report to the with compliance and the authority will take "appropriate view" on the matter at that stage. Airtel, yesterday, wrote to the (NPCI) promising to return Rs 190 crore (along with interest) to the consumers' original bank accounts that were linked to the (DBT). The NPCI is an umbrella organisation for all retail payments in India. Both and Payments bank came under fire after the the Sunil Mittal-led firm allegedly opened accounts of its mobile phone subscribers without seeking their "informed consent", and LPG subsidy worth crores was deposited into these accounts. The government acted swiftly in the matter and the UIDAI, in a strong move late last week, temporarily barred the company from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process, and e-KYC of payments bank clients. Suspending the 'e-KYC licence key', the also ordered PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an audit of Bharti and Payments Bank to ascertain if their systems and processes are in compliance with the Aadhaar Act.

First Published: Wed, December 20 2017. 02:33 IST