WhatsApp leaks: Sebi asks Tata Motors to conduct internal probe

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has directed Tata Motors on Tuesday to conduct an inquiry into the leak of price-sensitive financial information.
 
The regulator has asked the company to take action against those responsible for the leak and strengthen its internal processes.
 
Sebi is investigating the leak of the company’s earnings, which were doing the rounds on Whatsapp groups, operated by market traders, before the results were announced.
 
Tata Motors has been directed to investigate the role of persons who had access to this information and those who were involved in preparing board notes and presentations. Also, people consolidating figures and dissemination of information relating to financial results in the public domain should be investigated, the regulator said.
 
A company spokesperson said, “Tata Motors would like to state that it is fully committed to ensuring confidentiality of such price sensitive information. This lapse pertains to an incident in 2015. While the company has robust policies and processes to manage such price sensitive information, we will investigate this lapse thoroughly to identify and address process gaps and fix accountability.”
 
Tata Motors is one of the 12 companies whose financial results were leaked on WhatsApp groups.
 
The agency said its preliminary examination showed that the messages circulated in WhatsApp groups almost matched the quarterly financial results of Tata Motors for December 31, 2015, which were published subsequently.
 
Sebi said such resemblance of the information circulated in the WhatsApp groups with the actual financial results prime facie indicates that the results of Tata Motors for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 were in circulation prior to official announcement.
 
"The same could not have been possible without leakage of information from the persons, who were privy to the information relating to financials prior to its official announcement," said whole-time member Madhabi Puri Buch in the order.
 
The regulator said at this stage, the source and origin of the leakage of unpublished price sensitive information cannot be ascertained.
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