At a time when customers are rushing to link all their bank accounts with Aadhaar, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday clarified that it never issued any such directions and it was the decision of the Indian government.
The apex bank further clarified that in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to a bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017.
The RBI also said that anti-money laundering rules announced in June 2017 have "statutory force" and banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions.
The government has made it mandatory to link bank accounts with the 12-digit biometric identification number. The deadline to do it is December 31, 2017.
This linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts is a process over and above the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms already followed by the banks.
Banks accounts in India are already linked to the tax-related Permanent Account Number (PAN), which is mandatory.
The Finance Minister had outlined a "one billion-one billion-one billion vision" for the country.
"That is one billion unique Aadhaar numbers linked to one billion bank accounts and one billion mobile phones. Once that is done, all of India can become part of the financial and digital mainstream," Jaitley had said.
The RTI query further asked whether RBI had Supreme Court's permission to mandatorily link Aadhaar with bank accounts. In its reply, RBI said it had not filed any such petition before the Supreme Court.
The Aadhar programme, which is the world's largest biometric identity card programme, has triggered some claims that it is an infringement of privacy of citizens.
India's top court in August had said that privacy is a fundamental right and the verdict was expected to complicate efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to make linking of the ID card numbers with bank accounts and telephone numbers.