At least 10 companies and individuals have received show-cause notices from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) over unpublished financial results being circulated on private WhatsApp groups, livemint reported, citing two people familiar with direct knowledge of the matter.
The development comes after the regulator found the entities and individuals to whom the notices were sent last month guilty of the act in its own investigation, according to the report.
The report added that Sebi found that these entities and individuals released unpublished price-sensitive information on WhatsApp groups having analysts and journalists as members.
“These are mostly middlemen, who posted the so-called privileged information on WhatsApp groups ahead of the financial results being made public," one of the sources was quoted as saying in the report.
“Sebi has found these leakages in as many as 20 scrips of Nifty 50 companies. The information communicated on the social media platform was very similar to the actual results published a day or two later," the source added, as mentioned in the report.
The Sebi initiated the case in December 2017 after finding that earnings of companies such as HDFC Bank Ltd, Axis Bank Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd and Bata India Ltd had made their way to WhatApp groups.
While the internal probe by some of these companies failed to pinpoint a clear culprit, the market regulator's raids, which were conducted on more than 30 traders and middlemen, found strong evidence against those who have now come under serious probe, added the report.