Sebi to probe possible leak of company info on WhatsApp chats: report

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will investigate possible leaks of company earnings in social media chatrooms, a Reuters report quoted Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi as saying.

The report cited at least 12 cases of prescient messages about major Indian companies being posted in private WhatsApp groups.

Tyagi said the market regulator will investigate all possible leaks of information, but declined to say what action the regulator was considering. ''We will certainly investigate the issue. It is a work in progress,'' Tyagi was reported as saying.

The Reuters report is based on the alleged leak of first quarter results of Dr Reddy's Labs three days before it was announced. According to a message circulated on a private WhatsApp group saying the Indian drugmaker would not post good numbers.

On 27 July, Dr Reddy's reported a loss of Rs587 million – a result its chief executive said was ''below expectations'', sending shares down by as much as 4.4 per cent.

The post that circulated in the WhatsApp group three days earlier had predicted a loss of more than Rs500 million.

Reuters says it has documented at least 12 such cases of prescient messages about major Indian companies.