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RBI Audit Finds Aberrations in ICICI, HDFC, Axis

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An RBI audit report has found certain "aberrations" at ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank, which were accused of money-laundering by an online portal, but no risk of systemic failure was discovered, banking secretary Rajiv Takru said on Thursday, 18 April 2013.

"There is no risk of systemic failure. There are certain aberrations which we have discovered in the audit report.

These would be addressed both in terms of systemic factors as well as individual cases," Takru told reporters outside the Mint Road office of the RBI.

"Whatever responsibilities would have to be fixed will be fixed and whatever rectifications have to be done would be done," he added.

The banking secretary said that he has received RBI's interim audit report on the allegations levelled in the sting operation by news portal Cobrapost.

However, Takru said he was not at the RBI to recommend specific actions in the regard.

"An audit report has come and now the banks would probably be asked for their versions...We don't need to recommend anything; we discussed the issue and everybody will do whatever one is supposed to do after that. The RBI would be doing what they are required to do," he said.

The country's three largest private banks -- ICICI bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank -- were last month named by Cobrapost for indulging in money laundering.

The sting operation by the online portal had led to worries over the non-compliance on the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) norms and also raised fears of a systemic problem.

All the three banks have initiated internal enquiries and forensic audits, while two of them have also suspended nearly 40-odd people directly concerned pending enquiry.

When asked about the timeline by when regulatory action can be expected in this regard, Takru said: "There is absolutely no tearing hurry to run into some kind of hasty decision-making and in the process do something foolish. So all concerned will be required to apply their minds, all concerned will be given a complete opportunity to explain...(and then) what is correct and appropriate would be done."

Earlier in the day, the secretary attended a board meeting of the country's largest lender SBI.