In the wake of disclosure of transgressions in its network, including a case in Noida which came to light on Thursday, private sector lender Axis Bank said it has so far suspended 50 accounts and 24 employees for suspicious activities.
Asserting that investigating agencies acted on tip-offs provided by the bank itself, it admitted that the adverse publicity was affecting its brand, but hoped this was temporary. Axis’s retail banking head Rajiv Anand said so far the investigating agencies had visited eight branches, including five in New Delhi, and the number of employees suspended has gone up to 24 from 19 last week. These suspensions exclude impact of the visit by income tax officials to its Noida branch this morning following a trail of Rs600 crore deposited by a jeweller.
The bank called it a “visit” by I-T officials who asked for details on 30 accounts. “It is not that Axis Bank is under the scanner, but the person doing the transaction with us is,” he said, adding at no point it has been asked to shut any branch. The suspension of account is temporary and the bank carries out extra due diligence including a visit to account holder’s address in some cases, he said.
The bank said the first reports of the third-party audit will come in the next 10 days, followed by final ones in a fortnight. Since 10 November, the number of PoS transactions and mobile banking transactions have doubled, while there have been 15 lakh downloads of its UPI application, he claimed.