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Axis Bank to conduct forensic audit after authorities uncover fake accounts

Axis Bank Ltd. engaged KPMG to conduct a forensic audit and temporarily suspended some accounts after authorities uncovered 20 fake accounts carrying 600 million Indian rupees at a branch in Noida, India.

Axis Bank Managing Director and CEO Shikha Sharma said the bank is "embarrassed and upset" over the conduct of a few employees for bringing a bad name to the bank, The Times of India reported Dec. 18, citing Sharma's letter to customers. The bank has "taken the toughest action against such employees and we will do so in every case of divergence" from the bank's code of conduct, the CEO said. The bank has suspended 24 employees, according to Mint.

Sharma's letter came after the bank said Dec. 15 that it has "taken the unprecedented step of temporarily suspending" some of the accounts at the Noida branch. The bank noted that it had previously filed suspicious transaction reports with the Financial Intelligence Unit of India about the suspect accounts.

In its statement, Axis Bank also said the event will not have any bearing on its operations and performance.

This is the eight branch of Axis Bank that was inspected by authorities in wake of India's demonetization initiative, Mint separately reported Dec. 16. The bank, income tax authorities and Enforcement Directorate are currently investigating 50 suspicious accounts, including 30 at the Noida branch.

The authorities have detained some employees of the bank.

The Reserve Bank of India previously denied rumors that it was planning to cancel Axis Bank's license.

As of Dec. 16, US$1 was equivalent to 67.84 Indian rupees.