MUMBAI: State-run oil marketer Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) on Monday asked Airtel Payments Bank to immediately transfer the cooking gas subsidies it had got back to the bank accounts of customers or to the oil companies.
The move comes after LPG subsidies of millions of customers have been credited to the Airtel Payments Bank accounts without their permission. “To link LPG subsidy to earlier bank accounts, we have written to Airtel Payments Bank that the subsidy amounts of these consumers be immediately either transferred back to their earlier bank accounts or to the respective oil marketing companies,” HPCL said in a statement.
The oil company said the decision came after it got a large number of complaints from consumers through various channels including social media, print media and VIP references regarding non-credit of the LPG subsidies into their earlier bank accounts for the past few weeks.
It can be noted that since early June, there have been reports that Airtel has been credited over Rs47 crore worth of LPG subsidies into Airtel Payments Bank accounts from over 23 lakh customers without their consents. Of these, around 11 lakh LPG customers belong to IndianOil while the rest are with Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, as per the information that oil companies shared with National Payments Corporation that maps bank accounts with Aadhaar and oversees retail payments and settlement systems.
Oil companies have also found that Airtel has been opening payments bank accounts of its customers without their consent. Airtel has denied any wrongdoings and claimed that it was abiding by the law. The Unique Identification Authority had on Saturday temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification for their mobile customers using the eKYC process and also e-KYC of payments bank clients.
Airtel Payments Bank was the first such bank to begin operation since early this year.