Neeraj Monga, Executive Vice President, Veritas Investment, talks about the 'sensational' language of Veritas reports and other issues, in a phone interview with Business Today. Edited excerpts:
Q. Which Indian companies do you track?
A. We look at the BSE 100 companies. We look at the accounting integrity and quality of management of companies. We write on an Indian company only once a year as we don't rely on the kind of skeletal disclosures companies make every quarter. We rely mostly on the annual report. We are influenced neither by our clients nor by the companies we write on.
Q. Some analysts say your reports do not have anything new.
A. That's a typical response from India. Why is it then no one puts out a report like we did ?
Q. You're accused of using sensational language in your reports. What are your thoughts on that?
A. Veritas and I stand by the language we use. In India, debate is absent in public life. Most hard-hitting stories questioning India's growth are not done by Indian news organisations. Why are we accused of using sensational language when the Indian media uses so much of that? They had headlines saying 'Neeraj Monga asked for money', without even stopping to think why I would put my career and reputation at stake for a paltry $50,000.
Q. Why do you not take a company's view before you put out a report?
A. Why should we? All the financial information is available in the public domain. Managements conduct quarterly calls or meetings with analysts. They provide information at annual general meetings and during road shows, so there is no real need to approach a company.
Q. Have you ever received threats because of a report you published?
A. No, not till Indiabulls filed the case. In case of Kingfisher, they put out a statement explaining their position. That's how intellectual debate grows. That served the purpose.