NEW DELHI: Airtel Payments Bank’s managing director and chief executive Shashi Arora has resigned from the firm, even as the fledgeling bank is embroiled in a developing controversy. “Shashi has decided to move on to pursue opportunities outside of Airtel. We wish Shashi the very best for his future endeavours,” the company said in a statement.Airtel Payments Bank and Bharti Airtel, the parent company, have been alleged to have misused Aadhaar numbers provided to them during the course of the Aadhaar based SIM card verification process.
According to sources, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the body in charge of Aadhaar, had been receiving increasing complaints that these Aadhaar numbers had been used to open Airtel Payments Bank accounts without the consumer’s knowledge or consent. The number of complaints and the scale of misuse had led the UIDAI to temporarily cancel the eKYC licenses of both Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank in the beginning of December. While UIDAI restored Airtel’s eKYC license, accompanied by stiff riders, for a limited period (up to January 10) on Thursday, Airtel Payments Bank’s licence continues to remain barred.
The bank had also come under fire when oil marketing firm HPCL wrote to it last week, demanding the reversal of more than Rs 139 crore of LPG subsidy which had found their way into the accounts opened without the consumer’s knowledge. Arora, whose resignation is directly connected to the fiasco according to company sources, has been working with Airtel in senior leadership roles since 2006. He was appointed MD and CEO of the bank on June 1, 2016.
“He has been an asset for Airtel and over the years has contributed to the firm’s growth. 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 statement said.