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Sebi asks TaMo to probe data leak

Mumbai: Market regulator Sebi on Tuesday directed Tata Motors to conduct an internal inquiry into the leak of unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI) pertaining to its quarterly financial results through WhatsApp.

Tata Motors becomes the third entity whom the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has asked to investigate the leak of sensitive financial details prior to the formal announcement of quarterly results.

Earlier, Sebi had passed similar orders against Axis Bank and HDFC Bank.

Sebi has asked Tata Motors to conduct the inquiry within three months to ascertain the possible role of any officials.

The market regulator further said the scope of the inquiry should include persons involved in the consolidation of the figures for the financial results, preparation of board notes and presentations, dissemination of information relating to financial results in the public domain or any others who had access to the information.

Tata Motors has also been told to strengthen its processes and controls to ensure that such instances of leak of unpublished price sensitive information do not happen in the future.

Along with the inquiry, Tata Motors will have to submit a report on the present systems and controls, the persons responsible for monitoring such systems and the periodicity of monitoring.

In a detailed order, Sebi said prima facie it appears that the financial results of Tata Motors for the quarter ended December 2015 were finalised on or before February 9, 2016, which was before the circulation of the WhatsApp message on February 11, 2016.

It is observed that the financial figures pertaining to the quarterly results of Tata Motors were matching with the figures that were in circulation prior to its official announcement by the company, the order noted.

"Such resemblance of the information circulated on WhatsApp with the actual financial results prima facie indicates that the financial figures of Tata Motors, were in circulation prior to official announcement/ publication by Tata Motors," the Sebi order added.

Tata Motors had earlier informed the market regulator that the sharing of information on financial results, whenever required, was done in a secured way through password-protected files.

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