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Nearly a week after the Unique Identification Authority of India, (UIDAI) suspended Airtel Payments Bank's Aadhaar linked e-KYC services because of alleged misuse, Shashi Arora, CEO and Managing Director has now stepped down from the company.
"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," Airtel said in a statement here on Friday, without mentioning the suspension. Airtel's e-KYC facility was partly restored by UIDAI on Thursday.
"Having led the operations in key telecom circles followed by building a strong DTH (direct-to-home) business, he has laid the foundation for Airtel's Payments Bank operations. Shashi has decided to move on to pursue opportunities outside of Airtel. We wish Shashi the very best for his future endeavors," the statement added. The company is yet to name Arora's successor.
The UIDAI's interim order on December 16 had come after some customers of the telecom major alleged that the company had, without their consent, opened their bank account in Airtel Payments Bank when they used the "Aadhaar linked e-KYC services".
The Aadhaar-linked e-KYC service of UIDAI provides an instant, electronic, non-repudiable proof of identity and proof of address along with the date of birth and gender, resident's mobile number and email address to the service provider.
It was reported that at the time of mobile verification using Aadhaar e-KYC, the Airtel retailers were also opening Airtel Payments Bank accounts without "informed consent" of the customers. Even LPG subsidy by the government was also getting transferred to these Airtel Payments Bank accounts, without the knowledge of the customers.
Following the suspension of license, Bharti Airtel was reported to have deposited a penalty of Rs 2.5 crore with the UIDAI for alleged violation of rules on using Aadhaar-based e-KYC services. The payments bank was also reported to have returned the subsidy amount credited to its customers' accounts.
On Thursday, Airtel was allowed to use Aadhaar to verify its mobile phone customers until January 10. However, the company's e-KYC key remains suspended till UIDAI gets a final report on the probe it has ordered into the misuse.