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Bata India WhatsApp leak: SEBI imposes Rs 15 lakh fine on person guilty of releasing price sensitive info

BusinessToday.In     June 5, 2020

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has penalised one person after finding her guilty of releasing unpublished price sensitive information related to Bata India's financial results. The information was released via WhatsApp messages prior to official announcement by the company. A fine of Rs 15 lakh was imposed on Shruti Vishal Vora, who works with Antique Stock Broking, SEBI said in an order.

"The noticee (Vora) being insider had communicated the UPSI relating to Bata to other person through WhatsApp messages, which is in violation of the provisions of ...PIT Regulations, 2015, for which the noticees are liable for monetary penalty," Sebi said in an order passed on Thursday. Bata was one of the firms whose quarterly financial result was recently leaked.

Earlier, the markets regulator had penalised Vora for releasing unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI) related to financial results of Bajaj Auto, Ambuja Cement, Wipro, Mindtree and Asian Paints through WhatsApp messages. Some news reports had referred to the circulation of UPSI in various private WhatsApp groups about certain companies ahead of their official announcements to the respective stock exchanges.

Against this backdrop, Sebi had initiated a preliminary examination in the matter. Nearly 190 devices, records, among others, were seized.

WhatsApp chats extracted from the seized devices were examined further and while examining the chats, it was found that earnings data and other financial information of around 12 companies were leaked through WhatsApp messages.

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