The Reserve Bank on Thursday sought to downplay the money-laundering allegations against three private sector banks, saying the country has a "perfect" system to prevent such offences and that not a single such transaction took place in the sting operation.
The country's three largest private banks - ICICI bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank - were last week accused of indulging in money laundering both within and outside with an online portal, Cobrapost, claiming that the sting operation conducted by it had revealed a scam.
"Allegations do not mean flouting norms. There is not a single transaction which has taken place. KYC (Know Your Customer) violations will happen in any system. These are all transactional issues and have nothing to do with money laundering," Deputy Governor KC Chakrabarty told reporters after a meeting with bankers here.
He was responding to a question on the issue.
The seniormost Deputy Governor further said, "There is no scam (that) has happened...as no transaction has taken place."
"Let us not unnecessarily downgrade ourself. Our system to prevent money laundering is perfect, absolutely nothing (wrong with it)," he said.
Chakrabarty also said RBI will further tighten the anti-money laundering norms if needed. "If we find there is a need to further tighten any guidelines, we'll do that."
The comments come even as the RBI, Finance Ministry and the banks concerned are probing the allegations that some officials of these banks offered to facilitate money laundering.
On March 14, Cobrapost had released the contents of purported video recording of officials of HDFC, ICICI and Axis Bank allegedly agreeing to receive unverified sums of cash and put them in their investment schemes and benami accounts in violation of anti-money laundering laws.
Following the allegations, the banks had also suspended some employees in question.
RBI has also initiated scrutiny of the three banks for alleged violation of KYC guidelines. It has said final reports will be completed by March 31 and thereafter further course of action as necessary will be initiated.